Whispery, smokey, comfortably calculated. This is the voice of Nancy Falkow as she glides through eleven enjoyably original tracks that make up Clear View, her second full length independent release. From her website I learn that Falkow is a Philly singer/songwriter who happens to be living currently in Ireland. Impressive, considering that there are local upcoming gigs listed for early 2005. You might say her voice carries. Think the name sounds familiar? No doubt. Nancyıs backed some pretty impressive artists.
You may have seen her with Daniel Lanois on his 2003 tour. Before that she sang at Lilith Fair with Sarah McLachlan and the girls. Her musicıs been featured for years on WXPN in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
Falkow likes the Beatles. And early pop. And melodies and hooks. Not
unlike Norah Jones in its mellifluous and honeyed nature, Clear View both soothes and stimulates the senses.
Stay, the albumıs lead-in track exemplifies Falkowıs easy-open vocal approach. Only during an overly-notched mid vocal passage does it stray from its warmth. Not sure this was the perfect opener, but once you venture three or four songs into the album, it doesnıt much matter. Youıll buy the pony, teeth unchecked. Blindsided has a golden hook, and reminds me of...yes, Heart at their more mellow turns. The title track gets into deeper chordic tributaries and is rife with dark melody and message. Under The Sun sounds a whole lot like Lenny Kravitz, complete with moog solo, and so is a unique treat with a womanıs voice.
Besides Blue Ridge Highway, a sweet but forgettable country song, the material is strong enough to make you believe that there was a big A&R guy and label behind the project. Every song on this album holds an individual power, be it soft, underspoken or blatant. Production is minimal, which works well for many of the tracks, however these songs could have been much bigger with someone else at the helm, and probably are in her live show.
Minute, which only slightly exceeds the actual measure of time by 19 seconds, is a poignant and gorgeous blend of pop and harmony, and should have been way further up in the queue. There is a hidden cover track, and I will keep its secret here as well, as even though the tune is a good one, the piece pales in comparison to the artist in her own element. The collection ends ironically with Where Do I Start?, a starkly beautiful love song, capable of stealing the heat from whatever the current #1 wedding favorite might be, suggesting that this is surely not the last or best of the gifted Nancy Falkow.
Clear View - Review