Folk singers have been coming out of the woodwork at a rate of knots in recent years and while many fall into the generic strum and whimper category they do serve to highlight the qualities of the good ones that rise to the top. The Hunter Valley’s Melody Pool is one to take note of by way of her lilting songs that lean heavily on folk tradition but also approach pop, blues and country form at times.
The Hurting Scene is an album that more often than not touches on sadness – the sadness of loss, heartbreak and broken dreams – yet through all the heavy emotion a streak of optimism shines through, even if sometimes it’s just a chord change or a melodic turn of phrase. Pool’s voice and lyrics are the key elements in the success of the album. Her vocals are sweet and easy on the ear with a streak of 70s songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Laura Nyro running through the songs. That lightness and melodic catchiness takes the edge off some of her more biting lyrics but it is a quality that adds depth to the listening experience and provides layers to her songwriting that makes the album a slow grower.
Pool has balanced her album well with a variety of styles like the upbeat and bright All Of The Love, Xavier which recalls another local singer Suzy Connolly, the weeping pedal steel sway of On The Morrow and the Lucinda Williams styled Reckless Road. The Hurting Scene is a mature and poised debut album that makes a lasting impression with its poetic and eloquent treatise on love via traditional musical forms and sympathetic instrumental accompaniment.
this review was first published in Drum Media and on The Music