Claire Hamill

Voices

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Released in 1986, Voices is a peculiar departure from Claire Hamill's earlier pieces of singer/songwriter art rock. As the title suggests, this is an entirely a cappella album, with Hamill's multiply overdubbed voice taking the place of conventional instruments, including not only the usual keyboards and strings, but the bass and drums as well. Hamill's voice is stretched and mutated into absolutely unrecognizable sounds throughout the record: Play the Cocteau Twins-like "Moss" to someone unfamiliar with the record and they would likely not be able to recognize that the drums and saxophone are actually manipulated vocal tracks. Though the album is a remarkable technical tour de force (particularly considering that this was recorded in 1986, when samplers were in their infancy), as a collection of songs, it's mostly just all right: passable new age pop that drones along pleasantly for three-quarters of an hour but never particularly engages the listener. However, if you've always loved the vocal textures on Enya's albums, Voices will sound familiar and appealing to you.

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