Dawn Landes


It was Dawn Landes’ huge-hearted bluegrass version of ‘Young Folks’ that pushed her towards mainstream audiences last year. Now, her music is a prime target for advertisers in search of something that sounds incorruptibly innocent. Or at least it probably is when Joanna Newsom’s too pricey. On the acoustic ladyland spectrum she slots in neatly between Newsom’s kidishness and Beth Orton’s more earnest folk (which can drag). ‘Bodyguard’ is a blinding start: a perpetual-motion machine of delicate micro-percussion that’s a closer relative of Grace Jones than ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley. While she then lapses towards more workmanlike folk, ‘Picture Show’ also offers a charming ragtime music box that’d have the admen drooling if it weren’t for the kick-in-the-pants refrain (“La la la life’s a gag/La la la you’re a fag”). To which we’d add, “La la la, nice album, if a bit uneven”.

Gavin Haynes