Paddy Kehoe - RTE Ten Album Review 2014
The music of Vyvienne Long is one of the most delicately arresting experiences you’re ever likely to have. The music draws you in at once. You are forced to pause, to shut out the world, to listen.
A dynamic cellist and pianist, Vyvienne Long has been a brilliant arranger for a generation of songwriters since her first introduction to the recording studio almost twenty years ago. Beautifully disarming and intensely personal, her work continues to be in demand for soundtracks in Ireland and internationally, including Kirsten Sheridan’s Dollhouse, the Icelandic documentary The Future Of Hope and RTÉ’s drama series RAW. Admired as a compelling vocalist and songwriter of incisive wit, critics have drawn comparisons with Björk, Tori Amos and Joanna Newsome.
Her second studio album combines these skills with those of collaborators Con Tempo Quartet, virtuoso accordionist Dermot Dunne and award-winning new choir The Laetare Ensemble. Her lyrics are thoughtful and considered. They soothe, provoke, empathise, forgive, cry, and smile again. The album is a moral and emotional workout for the artist and the audience.
Vyvienne’s cello soars, and sets sail the most beautifully sculpted melodies and then drops, carefully supporting the vocals. There’s a fragility there which surprises when it later emerges in stronger voice. It is resigned, reticent and then hopeful and joyous.
The choir comes to the foreground on many of the songs, and adds a religious arc, a veil of solace to the harmonically sensitive string accompaniment. The songs question and reflect amid a constant sonic adventure.
This is an album to keep in a safe place. It will be a friend to comfort, an accomplice to action, and a reminder that living will always be a learning process.
A Lifetime of High-Fives will be released this Autumn.