The new album from VALERIE JUNE “The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers” was released March 12th and a music video for “Call Me A Fool” (feat Carla Thomas) came out the same day and is shared below.
The Memphis-based Tennessee singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist dispenses bucolic, country-spun sarsaparilla jacks… and she often performs them unaccompanied, but they almost always sound like flowered paradises and mini-celebrations of unrepressed well-being. Her voice is half growling bear and half trilling angel, always delivered with a good slug of grog.
Produced by Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys, John Legend) and Valerie, the new album is momentous and far-reaching with an oaky R&B production and just a soupcon of hippy psychedelia to launch the abundant folk-pop orchestration into uncharted (yet) cosmic directions. The pair arrived at a unique sound that is both sophisticated and yet boundlessly astounding. At the center, of course, is June’s electrifying vocal and her uncontrived sense of wonder.
“Call Me A Fool” (shared below) is a waltzing promenade with lush and abundant orchestration and the kind of ferny/earthy singing voice that is almost too rough to bear but so dazzling that you can’t escape its darkening textures. The song starts off moderately and you don’t expect it to be mind-blowing… but then (but then) there’s a protrusion of horn and bass and suddenly the whole darn thing rises like a prairie rocket! And, quite soon, June’s massively bassooning voice matches & dances with the orchestral gimballing that’s going on underneath. Just incredible!
“Within You” is lightly structured and plunketty. So precarious and fragile that you fear it might break in your fingers. This is a meticulously crafted silver trinket.
While “Stay” is a churchy postillation with the teeniest of call-response sentiment and some militaristic drum-work that locomotizes everything into an ever-widening horizon. Soon this becomes broad and comforting. The piece casually blends with the peaceful beauty of “Stay Meditation” and brings with it “You And I” — which is an astonishing cosmorama of multi-colored shapes and wavy textures.
This is an exceptional album that will not only appeal to lovers of Americana and bluegrass, but also to connoisseurs of the best possible dream pop.
Words: @neilmach 2021 ©