THE GREAT OUTDOORS This album creates a desire to be one with Mother Nature.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS This album creates a desire to be one with Mother Nature.

4/5 stars

Soon, female singer-songwriters with ethereal voices will claim a new genre. While you may be familiar with the more popular Ingrid Michaelson, there’s another girl with some quality pipes who deserves your attention: A Fine Frenzy. Focusing on the beauty and wonders of Mother Nature, Pines, her third studio album, reaches an even more ethereal, fairy-like level.

A Fine Frenzy, whose real name is Alison Sudol, first came into the public eye in the spring of 2007 with her debut album One Cell in the Sea. Led by the hit “Almost Lover,”Sudol quickly became recognized for her prowess as a pianist and her strong, raw vocal ability. She set herself apart from the rest of the singer-songwriter pack of the time with her warm smile, bubbly personality and, most notably, her bright red hair. Her first effort showed her relative naivety but was beautiful nonetheless.

With her second album in 2009, Bomb in a Birdcage, Sudol showed great progression. She developed her vocal capacity while delivering a new slew of both fun and catchy songs.

A Fine Frenzy has always managed to use the tone of her music to convey her messages. When listening to her music, it’s easy to feel emotionally connected, despite the fact that her lyrics are sometimes convoluted, or too metaphorical to really understand. Pines once again showcases her incredible ability to inject emotion into song.

A concept album about the wonders of nature, Pines is a direct extension of Sudol’s imagination and definitely worth a listen. Each song leads perfectly into the next and together put forth the idea that nature is both incredibly powerful and absolutely beautiful. There is a steady progression from more sadder sounds to excited, joyful beats and lyrics.

The album’s opener, “Pinesong,” is a solemn address to nature, a declaration of Sudol’s desire to be with nature. The album becomes increasingly cheery, slipping back into depressed tones here and there. Later, the anthem-like percussion easily counterbalances these sadder points. The penultimate song on the album, “Now Is the Start,” is highly optimistic, which seems like a good place to end it. But the record comes full-circle, ending with the long, gentle and beautiful “Untitled (Grasses Grow).” The album’s message is clear: You can’t escape nature, and you shouldn’t want to. The last lyrics, “The place you’ve been looking for all along,” is an obvious reference to the wonderful, natural world of the album. It’s not a scary place if you’re willing to explore, so dive right into it and give this album a listen.

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