Album Review: Norabelle - Wren

Beautifully composed debut album from low-fi band Norabelle. While 'Wren' isn't faultless it'll be one of the best albums of 2011 for sure! Perfect for fans of Red House Painters, Bon Iver, Joanne Newsom ....

The eight tracks that make up the debut debut album 'Wren' from Norabelle are wonderfully composed, orchestrated and sung. Norabelle are a three piece who in the main consist of acoustic guitars, piano, drums and harmonising vocals. The live sound is enhanced on the album with contributing bass and cello on the majority of the tracks. The result is that 'Wren' is a stunning piece of art with a global indie-folk sound which deserves a big audience.

'Sleeping' is my favourite track on the album due to the beautiful atmosphere created by the sound of the cello. The opening track 'Gregarious Bird' is a fine introduction to the album. In terms of lyrics the album works best when the lyrics are about personal relationships as in the case with the excellent 'Low on your Neck' where Shane sings 'I don't think I ever loved you more' with a lingering 'more' followed by an outro of sublime quality.

'Wren' is by no means the outstanding album I want it to be. The four tracks from the band's debut EP would have sat comfortably on the album and are better in my opinion than tracks like 'Wren' and 'Unfurl'. In term's of being an enjoyable listen I'd have liked there to be more variety in tempo and atmosphere. At a recent gig I was told by someone that their opening track was one of the best songs they heard all year but it was a shame they played the song five times. The lyrics on some songs are poignant and meaningful while on other tracks they let the song down with superficial messages. An example would be with the title track 'Wren' which is musically the best song of the year but lyrically doesn't draw me in.

Can you sense my contrasting opinions? This is one of the hardest albums to review because I adore with a passion the music of Norabelle but feel and know the album could have been better. I genuinely hope the band continues to find new fans who discover for themselves the majestic sounds of Norabelle.

Norabelle - Wren [10 out of 12]

Gregarious Bird by norabellemusic