ALBUM REVIEW: Jessie Murphy In The Woods “Eight Belles”

Label: Rex Records
Release Date: 20.04.2010

The aptly named Jessie Murphy In The Woods are vocalist /guitarist Jessie Murphy accompanied by the Woods sisters: Amy (Vocals/Horn/Flute/Percussion) and Marcia (Vocals/Keyboard/Flute/Clarinet/Harmonica/Panpipes).  Having met through a shared passion of music – all three are music teachers in New York, the friends decided to explore a fantasy world.  Debut album “Eight Belles” transports the trio from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple to a crisp autumn day in the woods.  No longer an ensemble, they unite a lonely little girl riding a big brown horse.  The moment is so tender and beautiful that the little girl will forever seek to recreate it through her life.  Murphy is the voice of her journey and the Woods create the pictures with their multi-instrumental compositions.

Given that lead singer Jessie Murphy made her name on the anti-folk scene, there is a surprising folk element thrown into the mix.  The trio would rather be seen as chamber pop, an allowable title given the haunting ethereal elements of Murphy’s whisper.

The collection itself is pretty but brief;  “Eight Belles” is just nine dreamy songs long.  The journey may be short but it is certainly memorable.  With its bright and breezy demeanour, it is easy to relate to the album’s intentions.  Though on the whole light and fluffy, it is in its more determined moments that “Eight Belles” leaves a mark.  Whilst ‘We Are The Ones’ is an enjoyable listen it is instantly forgettable.  In contrast the relaxed comedy of ‘God Save Owen Wilson’ will have you singing the melody for several hours afterwards. Equally memorable are the wishful ‘When I Am A Horse Again’ and chimerical ‘Eight Belles’.

Jessie Murphy In The Woods promised to recreate an unforgettable fleeting moment. In turn, “Eight Belles” proves to be a sumptuous yet brief listening experience.

Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

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