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Melbourne folk auteur Laura Jean returns with a new self-titled record, her most intimate and affecting album yet. Laura Jean follows on from 2011’s A fool who’ll, her acclaimed excursion into rock dynamics (described by Rolling Stone as “an uncompromising triumph”).
For the new album, Laura traveled to the UK and recorded with producer John Parish, renowned for his career-spanning collaborations with PJ Harvey, as well as his work with Goldfrapp, M Ward and many others. The album was recorded at Toybox Studios in Bristol.
Laura Jean alternates between startlingly honest portraits of domestic life, and more allegorical tales of a dream world. The tone is sparse and delicate, only occasionally breaking out into full-bodied arrangements such as June and Don’t Marry the One You Love. But what at first seems beguilingly gentle pulls you deeper and deeper with every listen.
The album features backing vocals throughout from rising Norwegian performer Jenny Hval, with whom Laura has toured Australia and Europe. Laura also sings a duet with John Parish on Prince Of Kites to close the album.
Since coming to prominence with debut album Our Swansong in 2006, Laura Jean has risen to become a singular, powerful voice in Australian music.
She has enjoyed Triple J rotation and many community radio feature albums, appeared on Rockwiz, sung backup on the latest Paul Kelly album, collaborated with the Drones’ Gareth Liddiard on an ABC documentary soundtrack, and toured with the likes of Bon Iver, Adalita, Dirty Three and Seeker Lover Keeper.
Each album has seen Laura shifting and searching subtly. Our Swan- song was lush and pastoral, adorned with strings, woodwind and beautiful modal harmonies. 2009’s Eden Land explored ideas of self- discovery and loss of innocence through a suite of nine interconnected songs. A fool who’ll was dark and claustrophobic, even menacing at times, but suffused with a fierce beauty.
Now Laura Jean is another shift – a stripping back, a focusing of Laura’s inward gaze and a sharpening of her storytelling gift. The result is an album both intensely personal and somehow timeless.