Women of Folk: Marika Hackman and Imelda May

I’ve spent the last week abroad and – as usual – it has been a good opportunity to listen to a number of new albums. Among the discs that I appreciated the most, there have been two albums that really impressed me. These are the two last released by two incredible multi-instrumentalist and talented songwriters: Marika Hackman and Imelda May.

Marika Hackman is a young English singer-songwriter whose debut album, the 2005’s We Slept at Last, showed to the world her talent as singer but also her delicate and atmospheric folk style. Her last recent release, the beautiful I’m Not Your Man, confirmed her ability to mix together traditionally english-folk atmospheres with alternative-rock elements. In my opinion her second album is even more convincing than the debut LP and there are at least 4-5 songs of absolute quality.

The London singer’s sophomore album is a bracing, darkly funny blend of folk and Britpop. Her tactile lyrics keep the songs melodically strong and full of surprises. (Pitchfork)

The couple of singles from the album that have been shared since the release of the album are more oriented towards the indie pop elements of their style (you can see the videos for Boyfriend and My Lover Cindy). The songs which I love the most of the album, however, are those more atmospherical and melodical, such as the unpronounceable Blahblahblah and the poetical So Long.


Thanks to a longer presence in the music scene and a total number of five albums, Imelda May‘s reputation is definitely wider than Hackman’s one. The British musician, singer and songwriter began her profession as back as 2003, at an age that formally should preclude her to enter into many places where she was expected to perform.

Initially affirmed with a rockabilly-oriented musical style, Imelda May has slowly shifted towards a peculiar and enjoyable soft rock with the incremental introduction of elements coming from the folk tradition. Her last work, Life Love Flesh Blood, signs the definitive change in her musical direction and sees the artist engaged with a number of country and folk ballads of absolute value. Unlike some critics who haven’t fully appreciated this change of style, I am among those who have greatly enjoyed the new musical path she embarked on with the last album. Imelda May’s LP, as far as I am concerned, is among the finest things I’ve heard since the beginning of the year.

With a strong, human heart that beats, bleeds, breaks and heals, this album perfectly personifies every aspect of life and the various trials and tribulations it throws in your path. From heartbreak to nostalgia, this album covers the spectrum of human emotion almost entirely, meaning there is a song to suit any situation or mood (RedBrick)




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