Sharron Kraus

Beautiful Twisted

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

Kraus' debut album would not have sounded at all out of place if it had been issued, say, in 1970 or 1971, at the time when such moody contemporary British folk was cresting. That's not at all to say that it's revivalist, or uncomfortably imitative; indeed, to listeners who love that vintage genre, it's more likely a high recommendation. In its ambience, the album strongly recalls the work of Shirley Collins, Sandy Denny, and more obscure songstresses like Vashti Bunyan, though Kraus is no match for Collins or Denny vocally (not many singers are). She's a decent songwriter, though, and very much fits in the British folk lineage with her sad yet dignified melodies and lyrics with plenty of images evoking nature, epic love, and mythological aspects. There are (for this style) out-of-the-ordinary up-front depictions of incest (in "Twins") and references to modern life (in the shiny car and taxi driver of the title track), though these aren't too typical of the compositions. There isn't enough rock to the backing to call this a folk-rock record, but it's definitely far more contemporary than standard British folk, both in attitude and also in the pleasant variation of instrumental accompaniment, as in the ominously echoing keyboard of "Beautiful Twisted" and the bass clarinet squeals of "Song of the Unfree." At the time of this release, Kraus was reported to be working on forming a band, a good idea if other singers could give the vocals as much depth as the arrangements.

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