Jolie Holland The Living And The Dead

Jolie Holland The Living And The Dead
In spite of more and more female singer-songwriters following the dark path that Jolie Holland has carved out over the past five years with her highly stylized combination of ancient folk and modern pop, she continues to set the standard with this latest collection. The juxtaposition of the album title has always been the core principle of Holland’s work and in much the same way, The Living And The Dead is a concise distillation of the themes and imagery she has previously developed. But what immediately jumps out is how Holland and her small backing combo actually rock on tracks like "Mexico City” and "Your Big Hands.” It’s a welcome display of musical diversity even though the album’s best moments are still when Holland’s unique voice is front and centre on gently swinging numbers like "Sweet Loving Man” and "The Future,” or when she puts her stamp on a traditional murder ballad, in this case "Love Henry.” Yet, when her twisted sense of humour is revealed on closing piss-take "Enjoy Yourself,” it’s the perfect finishing touch on what has to be Holland’s most personal, and most accessible, album so far. (Anti)