This Josephine Foster article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
‘No More Lamps In the Morning’ sees singer-songwriter Josephine Foster strip down her sound whist keeping the quaint. For Foster to show off the bare bones of her music isn’t necessarily a new thing, but she frequents said motif on this record more-so than on her previous works. Her two previous albums were laid back on surface but featured a decent amount of accompaniment, but the large amounts of musical accompaniment are tossed aside for this new release.
As always, the most noticeable, attention-grabbing aspect is Foster’s voice. It’s that strange, lullaby-esque execution that flutters away throughout the whole album, and captivates the listener right from the opening passage of ‘Blue Roses’; it will even excite those unfamiliar with her work. Her voice tinkers with octaves, and is always unpredictable.
The songs fit so well together, which is the main criteria when discussing the album is concerned. Nothing on ‘No More Lamps In the Morning’ is new; most songs have featured in some capacity on Josephine Foster’s previous albums, and ‘My Dove, My Beautiful One’ takes its lyrics from poet, James Joyce. And so, the overall flow is important, the way that the tracks are arranged is important, and the fact that Foster was successful in doing this gives the album itself a few extra layers of importance.
Going back to instrumental accompaniment, it’s hard not to be mesmerised by the assorted guitar sounds, the Spanish, the Portuguese, and they’re often backed up by cellos which more than simply serve their purpose, they give the songs more life where it’s needed.
Keeping the same kind of mood, and the same kind of tone with similar, familiar compositions can almost get tedious, but not quite. It’s a very interesting listen, regardless of how directionless it may seem once you’re halfway through. There are a good number of quirks and qualities present, and while the drowsed-out, dragged-out nature of the songs’ sounds and structures can be perceived as a negative, it really would be the only negative you could come up with. That and the fact that some songs are obviously better than others.
‘Magenta’ serves its purpose as the sweet, fitting outro number. It’s a folky goodbye and a very gorgeous one. It isn’t an exclamation mark, it isn’t climactic, but it sums up the album remarkably, it epitomises the charm of ‘No More Lamps In the Morning’, an album built on simple majesty.
‘No More Lamps in the Morning’ is out now via Fire Records.