Beth Orton – Sugaring Season
Thank God Beth Orton has that voice. Now more than ever, it’s the most pronounced separation between her and the less cool plethora of Radio 2-favoured female “folkies” and, despite life having clearly changed her over the past six years, it’s still the central feature on Sugaring Season, working with both lyrics and music to transport her into the role of wise older sister.
The Norwich-born chanteuse is clearly looking through a different lens to the hopeful 20-something we heard all those years ago on Central Reservation, or the confused friend looking for tea and sympathy on 2006’s Comfort of Strangers. Solace now lies in birds, trees, changing seasons, endless skies and, ultimately, herself – the tripping momentum of her previous work has been soothed into folky whimsy, complete with Dylan-esque flutters of whining harmonica, whirling keys and gorgeous melodies, finger-picked liquid guitar, aching strings and the resonant sound of solitude. Bliss.