Soledad Vélez – Wild Fishing
In many ways, the debut from Chilean folk-rock singer-songwriter Soledad Vélez feels almost uncannily familiar.Her influences range across a well-established set of atmospheric touchstones: David Lynch, Nick Cave, and Diamanda Galás all lurk beneath the robust, rustic intensity of Wild Fishing; and while the lyrical and thematic simplicity of songs like Black Light in the Forest gives them a primal, archetypal force, it also means that the record feels firmly entrenched within its generic boundaries.
Yet for all its familiarity, Wild Fishing somehow sustains a compelling intensity throughout. That’s largely due to Vélez’s remarkably versatile, throaty vocals, which shift effortlessly from a PJ Harvey-esque guttural bellow (Unhappy With Crown) to a tremulous, fragile whisper that recalls Josephine Foster or Devendra Banhart (Homeless). There may be few surprises in the underpinning instrumentation, which draws upon shuffling percussion, banjo, and reverb-heavy, tremolo-deploying guitar, but Vélez’s sheer vocal power carries the record along impressively.