July Album of the Month: Alice Russell – To Dust

Alice Russell has been on my radar for a while now. About 10 years if memory serves me right. With that I think she has shown potential and blown me away at times and others has been let me down musically.

Last summer I picked up her latest offering not sure what to expect and was pleasently surprised. Like many albums that we seem to all pick, this needs some time, and a little sunshine as well. Perhaps that’s why I have held off a year to share it with you. It works better in the summer for me.

To me this is an album that has been done by someone that has some soul and knows what she wants out of each track on this album. I’m finding this harder and harder to find this days out of a full album and I think she holds it well.

I like this album in the car, when I’m working, when I’m cooking, or just puttering. It seems to be in my life a fair bit once again now the sun has returned. Hopefully it may find a place in yours as well.

6 comments

  1. David Allison

    Early days with this album, and not an artist I was familiar with, but I like it. I can be a bit immune to the whole Nu-Soul thing, and when it all gets over revivalist, I can’t always see the point. I never felt quite the same as everyone else did about Amy Winehouse, for example, though she was clearly a heck of a talent. This has all the hallmarks of some revivalists, but what I like about it is that it has some nice contemporary R&B touches in with the Motown/Stax touchstones.

    If anything, it’s maybe her voice that I’m finding less distinctive. It’s a great voice, but it does sound like quite a lot of other people. But that might change as I give it more time. I’ll come back with a better update after a few more listens…

  2. misterstory

    Nolan bought an earlier Alice Russell album for me years ago, perhaps about 2005 so I am not a stranger to Ms Russell. The first thing that struck me was the cover … its a bit Emeli Sande? The album Nolan bought previously the cover art was all ‘nu-illustration’ / ‘urban-cool’. The reason I bring this up is that my first impression was not great as it smacks of manipulation. The artist is obviously being marketed very differently though, to the casual observer the product is not much different. Having the same haircut (identical) as Ms. Sande doesn’t help!

    However, this is a music blog not a marketing blog (but for me first are often hard to get over).

    I find this kind of thing hard to get into. I don’t have a natural affinity to it so it does take some effort. There are tracks that stand-out while you’re listening but so far they’ve not called to me while I’m not listening to it. The production is nice and clean and I like the mostly acoustic/natural-instrumentation. I am tending to listen to this as background music when Stacey and Silvia are kicking about and chatting etc so I’ve not given it as much attention as I could have done which is remiss of me.

    As I’ve said before I do struggle sometimes with genres that I don’t listen to much. More from a frame of reference perspective ‘is this good? is this better than other stuff that sounds like this?’.

    I actually really like her voice, not sure if it is distinctive but it is a great instrument.

  3. misterstory

    I’ve given this a bit more attention this week. I’ve had it on a few times start to finish in the car so 100% attention. When you focus on it, you do get more out of it. I can’t say I love it yet but I do appreciate it. I think the production is great, the live instruments have plenty of breathing space, the acoustic guitars sound amazing.

  4. David Allison

    Update: I came to enjoy this album quite a bit….but I’m not sure it quite broke through for me. I’d love to see her voice married with edgier arrangements (a la Laura Mvala for example). It’s quite a cozy listen. But nice, nonetheless. Whether it’s on my stereo in 2 months time, who knows?

  5. whyohwhyohwhy

    Evening gents. Not wishing to sound like a broken record, but I’ve been off the radar for a while, but just catching up now. Sorry for the neglect, i’m sure it’s my album soon as well. I’ve just got this burnt to the old mac (new one still knackered) but if I can bluetooth it onto my phone then I’ll try and listen. If not, I’ll listen at home…. I’m not aware of Alice Russell before, so I approach this with a clean slate.

    Bear with me….

  6. whyohwhyohwhy

    Well it’s pleasant enough, and very slick and nu-soul. There’s lots of stuff to admire here, it’s above the usual saccharine r’n’b that seems to be made in people’s sleep these days, but I’m just not sure if it’s for me. I enjoyed the listen, and another listen, but it’s sort of like watching a really slickly produced comedy but in the end you still end up reading the internet on your phone at the same time. It’s not the sort of thing I’d usually go for, but in this case, I’m not sure it’s the sort of thing I’d stick with either.

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