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The Daily Tar Heel

Music Review: Alela Diane

You might picture a full-skirted girl spinning on the hay-sprinkled floor of a barn as you listen to the music of Alela Diane & Wild Divine. You may just as easily imagine the songs spilling over a person as he reclines on a blanket during a cloudy day at the beach.

Alela Diane’s penetrating voice is the centerpiece of the atmospheric album. She calls to the listener with an alluring invitation to join her in a world of blue skies and white horses.

Her voice is a floating daydream that will set you in a trance with angelic coos and shake you out of it just as readily with deep, guttural cries.

The singer’s lyrics feed the ethereal quality of her vocals. On “The Wind,” she implores, “Woman of the island / please send me light … Cause I’m on the wind / I can’t go back / I am a dream on the wind.” Her tone is dynamic — it alternately waxes whimsical and contemplative.

With slide guitar, banjo, piano and bass backing by Wild Divine, every selection on the album is ripe with country twang.

The eighth track, “Heartless Highway,” is a jazzy deviation from the previous songs and highlights Alela’s vocal versatility. The instrumentation ultimately serves as a backdrop to Alela’s scintillating songcraft.

As a whole, the album is lovely — heartbreaking, melodious, simple and intelligent, a journey through music that’s as vivid as the breathtaking scenery it evokes.

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