Marla & David Celia
Two Golden Voices and a Treasure Trove of Contemporary Canadiana via Germany.
I first encountered Canadian David Celia via his 2015 album Double Mind; which knocked me sideways and genuinely made an appearance in my garden one Sunday in the Summer just gone; then he teamed up with Marla Winkler (now Celia?) in 2018 for the probing DAYDREAMERS ALBUM; which again I rather liked.
So; as you’d expect I was rather excited and flattered when Marla got in touch a couple of weeks ago offering a copy of this; their latest release.
I immediately uploaded it to the magic box and regrettably forgot about it until earlier this week, when it flagged up on the Reviews Spreadsheet …… so on it went in the car on a drab Autumn day on the journey to work.
All I can say is that it was most certainly a case of right place/right time; as it was like sitting alongside a long lost friend who had the ability to make me feel warm and loved; and smile too (which are all in short supply post-Brexit!).
Thinking that I knew what to expect, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the opening song; Clowns Everywhere; the couples harmonies are worn and whispering in a way that surprisingly reminded me of Simon and Garfunkel; and that keeps coming back again and again as the album evolves.
On that first play I just let the gorgeousness drift over me like a velveteen fog; lazilly I could tell you that the couple encompass all that was wonderful about the Laurel Canyon ‘sound’ but that would be doing them a huge injustice; as they obviously use a lot of influences to create their very own distinctive style of Folk Music.
Once you tear yourself away from the fabulous arrangements that surround the couple’s golden voices; the songs unravel like a garden of earthly delights; with unexpected hidden messages leaking out of Paranoia vs Miracles and Colours of the Rainbow that are quite startling when you finally ‘get’ them
Even on Mama Nature, Marla and David never hit you over the head with any particular message; but the messages are certainly there when you look for them.
I don’t want you to think that this is Hippy-Trippy nonsense; no sir … when you hear the intricate Cuento Conmigo, or Struggling with the Ying-Yang; you’ll think they are coming more from a Joni and CS&N direction than … well; let’s not make this personal!
Something else that’s taken me a while for the penny to drop; is the excellent production here that allows the instruments to ‘breathe’ that not justs compliments Marla and David but allows them a comfort not every singer is allowed in front of a microphone.
As many know, I’m no particular lover of Vinyl; as it’s generally the provenance of hipsters with too much money; but in this case I actually think that these songs will sound ever more wonderful on vinyl and a good hi-fi; but I’m also more than happy to hear them on the office hi-fi via the computer.
While the album is gorgeously relaxing; don’t fall into the trap that this is ‘easy listening’ …… there’s a lot more to these songs than many people will realise; which brings me to two in particular that I’m torn between as my Favourites.
With Childhood Dream Marla and David somehow paint vivid pictures with their words; and the harmonies send a shiver down my back every time I hear this song.
Then, there is the enchanting Love Of Life, where the couple sing to each other in a ghostly manner over a subtle and somehow evocative and soft country melody; the likes of which Nanci Griffith and John Prine would have been so proud to have recorded themselves.
The other song is Goodbye; an insightful view on the disposable the times we live in today; and a much more intense chorus than anywhere else …… but that just shows what a great pairing this couple are and when you listen to the story therein; I defy you not to have a tear in your eye and a rage in your heart.
Like the majority of albums that pass my desk INDISTINCT CHATTER is unlikely to trouble the Grammy or Juno committee’s; as they will be too busy trying to please the big labels in what is left of the Music Industry; but that doesn’t mean that the likes of you and I don’t recognise a career and possibly even a genre defining record when we hear it.
Released October 22nd 2021
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