Brad Luttrell on June 29, 2009
Folk group Alanna Fugate & the Yarn Novels may have unraveled a masterpiece in their latest album.
Imaginary Boats and the Several Seas I’ve Sailed is a cohesive album that flows through all 15 tracks seamlessly. Fugate’s voice captures you and all the other pieces, the acoustic and electric guitar, softly played drums and bass, all fall in place. But often it is easy to realize that you’re not just listening to the tracks, or even just vocals - Fugate is a story teller.
Fugate spins her tales poetically and creatively with lyrics like “And I will always think you look what I think Paris should look like,” “Cause birds they love to fly, and I am a bird that will fly. And I love to sing, sweet melodies and I’ve sworn to sing and not cry,” and quite possibly one of the simplest, but best on the album: “Your eyes are the color of pool chalk, my favorite color of blue.”
While Fugate’s first album, Lost a Little, was certain to appeal to a more folk, nearly country, audience, Imaginary Boats does not easily fit into any one genre. Lost a Little consisted mostly of Fugate, her guitar and a combination of spoken word and song, but in her sophomore album with the Yarn Novels, she has accomplished a truly filling sound. Now her band doesn’t just seem as a backup, it’s a part of the music.
This new album also offers much better variety, which contributes to the flow of the album dramatically. In Imaginary Boats, songs develop their own identity while never falling too far from the shore.
Fugate has played guitar since she was 13. The Ewing, Va native has a distinctive type of play, known as the claw hammer, in which she picks the guitar like a banjo. Folk enthusiasts will love this album, but Imaginary Boats is the type of album that could just keep unraveling to become a popular independent album.
released January 9, 2009
Mark Hamilton, Owen Reynolds, Jordon Ellis
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