At first listen, Amelie‘s new album – Dinah Dina – can be unnerving, even a little discomforting. The minute I popped the promo in the player, I was sure I had heard her tone somewhere before. And it wasn’t on her previous effort, The Real Nature of the Fantastic Ice Cream Car (Boxson, 2007), which somehow slipped underneath the Word radar.
Rather, her dreamy and drousy sound reminded me of Coco Rosie’s lo-fi intensity and Aurevoir Simone‘s’ Virgin Suicides-like mysticism, whilst her obvious instrumental versatility (the lot, from accoustic guitars and ukulele‘s to mellotrons and auto-harps) took me back to Beck’s first major label album, Mellow Gold.
The album itself is warm, fit for cosy fire places, without being Starbucks material. Although it begins rather softly, if not to say slowly (Somewhere We’ll Turn to Dust, the album’s clear radio-hit, being the only exception), the folk troubadour from Lille ups it up a notch or two towards the end. Torero of the Speech, for instance, begins with a cheery, Smashing Pumpkins-like electrified ballad, to then culminate in a burst of screams – albeit a timid one.
Intellectual, well-composed and impeccably produced, Dina Dinah really is a joy, something of a hazy, foggey roadtrip with a bunch of well-meaning, attentionate and interesting people. Put it this way: as soon as its first notes hit you, you’ll be thinking knitwear, frothy hot chocolates and cuddles. And for something of a novice in the folk department (talk to me about rap, electronic or rock music, I’m your man, but folk music always intimidated me, as I always felt it somehow tested my intellectual capability), this gem most surely makes me want to give the Bonnie Prince Billy-types another try.
Get the album here.