Inge Thompson / Inge Thomson

Shipwrecks and Static

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It is rare that an album comes along that actually sounds, well, unique. Inge Thomson's Shipwrecks and Static has so many disparate elements that initially confuse the listener, but ultimately contribute to the songs' quirkiness and charm. Thomson is from Shetland isle in the U.K. and has been playing music with a variety of groups since the '90s. The album features the accordion prominently on every song, which sonically connects it to folk music, specifically Irish folk music. Far from being a typical Irish folk album, though, Thomson's sweet and haunting voice gives her songs an eerily comforting feeling. Polyrhythms abound, especially on tracks like the opener, "John." These, combined with her atypical song structures, create an off-balance feeling that artfully avoids descending into chaos. The harmonies on songs like "Cradle Song" are so tight and beautiful, you wish she had used them more prevalently. The best song is "Girl with the Swan's Head," which features these great harmonies, unusual instrumentation, and remarkably simple rhythms. This album is not for everyone, but for fans of avant-garde folk, Thomson is someone worth listening to.

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