Grass Is Singing is the debut album from worldly trio Lonely Drifter Karen, a band taking their cues from the musical landscapes of Vienna, Barcelona, and Spain. To call it whimsical and imaginative might be an understatement. The album is a beautifully crafted storybook, populated with characters that are evoked with astounding care.
This isn’t the music of sitting idly, but of wandering and adventure. By the third song, I had been put in mind of girls biking through the European countryside, poppy fields, and busy market squares. Elsewhere along the way I was taken through dark woods, before being deposited in a smoky cabaret with a sparrow-voiced siren leaning against a baby grand.
Melodic vocals drape across dexterous piano work, which are lifted on springs of vintage Parisian accordion sounds. Interspersed are choruses that are often operatic. Many of the songs would not be out of place as the score to an Italian or French film circa late 50’s/early 60’s. If someone were to break out in song and start dancing in the street, this could be the soundtrack to that outburst. There is a thread of child-like innocence and wonder running throughout the album, which is anything but naive. These are street wise folk tales.
Marc Melia Sobrevias’ skillful piano work plays a large part in the rich scenery, at turns boisterous and handled with delicate plinking. Drummer Giorgio Menossi’s light touch helps lead the parade across the musical canvas. The jewel of the group, Tanja Frinta, can be likened to a very eccentric Doris Day, her voice smooth and lyrical. She is someone you can’t imagine going many places without her guitar, always ready for life to inspire more exceptionally imaginative lyrics.
Lonely Drifter Karen fills the listener with easy optimism, opening our eyes to the magic to be found all around us. Take a journey into this world, where the grass is singing and there isn’t a cloud in the sky.