Album Review: Ngaiire, Lamentations

Ngaiire Joseph first caught Australia’s attention as a 19-year-old, where she made it to the “Wildcard” round of the second season of Australian Idol. The Idol stint may well have been a boon for her career in music, but almost a decade later on her debut release Lamentations, Ngaiire’s now fully-developed soulful vocals promise to do more for her popularity than any talent show ever could.“Around” and “Fireflies” showcase the soaring falsettos the Papua New Guinean singer-songwriter is capable of; though the beauty of this album is that you can pick any song and be greeted with Ngaiire’s compelling voice, delivering poignant tales of hope and loss alike.Album mixmaster Chris Townend (Silverchair, Violent Femmes) deserves a pat on the back for helping his artist’s vocals shine through; the electronic beats and layered backing vocals, which are mainstays on the album, never overpower Ngaiire’s voice. The dynamics of each, however, are lifted to great effect during the choruses of “Uranus” and “Dirty Hercules”, the latter being her first single, which features a guest appearance by Malbourne-based singer Nai Palm (Hiatus Kayote).Lamentations also embraces modern sounds, most notably through the use of pulsating synthesizer lines. The synth line invokes images of celestial bodies in the delayed and drawn-out intro to “Rabbit Hole”, and you also feel this — rather appropriately — when listening to the track “Uranus”. Ngaiire leaves listeners with a lasting impression of her talent with the album’s final song “Ordinary”, which peaks when she sings “I need for you to feel what I feel”. If empathy and understanding are her objectives, Ngaiire has definitely achieved this on the album, having drawn listeners in with her unique vocals and brought them to her level with her lyrics.by Alexander Darling

August 12th 2013
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