Freeworld/Floating World Rec. Alison O'Donnell : Hey Hey Hippy Witch (UK,rec.2006-2007,pub.2010)***
Allison O’Donnel (formerly known from her Mellow Candle years) has had a busy musical life during the past few years. Since 2006 she has appeared with bands in the UK, US and Ireland. Some of the dawn of these travels and meeting points, contributions and collaborations can be sensed on this album. I need to mention for instance Gavin Prior and Dave Colohan on track 4 (both musicians are from Untited Bible Studies, with whom she’s preparing a full album now, in cooperation with Jozef Van Wissem to be entitled ‘Downland’), Steven Collins (Owl Service) on track 3, with whom she did record a mini album and a single before and will continue to participate on their next album, but also Kevin Scott (Mr.Pine), on track 2, with whom she recorded one (other) Mellow Candle styled song before, Graem Lockett (Head South By Weaving) on track 1, with whom she will do a full album in near future, Michael Tyack and Will Summers of Circulus on track 7, 11, with whom she recorded one single before, and two tracks with Margaret Ayres (or Margie Wienk from Fern Knight) to name just a few names.
With so many experiences and meeting points it became so that the album really has a wide range of diversity, while it still hangs together well. Also, Alison’s voice has a nice range of singing, which suits the song inspirations well. There’s first of all the Irish influence, which hangs in some tracks, like a shining mist of inspiration, a flavour which changes shape and flows away from its area to something else, sometimes folk-rock, but definitely always with a contemporary vision (there’s a lovely vocal cooperation too with Dave Colohan on track 4, or just check the strange contemporary vision on track 7 with Isabel Ní Chuireáin and Margaret Ayre/Margie Weink). A few tracks even have some Indian flavours, (with use of tempura, tabla, harmonium,..) of which I very much like the mood provoked by harmonium (again by Margie Weink) and voice (Alison) (11). A few more progressive touches are provided too, like by United Bible Studies (4) or people like Gavin Prior (6) or Michael Tyack (Circulus) (9). The melodic and mood range is pretty varied too, and the album even ends with a happier note. Lyrically the songs sound like poetry, literature or involved with things that happened in the world, or that have some roots in the richness of Anglo-Saxon culture . A great album which might take a few listens, but there are many layers of information and inspiration that guides a varied listening.
Other bands Allison has worked with the last few years were Moonroot (US), Agitated Radio Pilot (IR), Colin Harper and the Field Mouse Conspiracy (North Ireland, UK), and just recently has recorded her voice on three tracks for the doom metal band Cathedral (?!).
Alision also sang on one track of Mr.Pine. See review here