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FAME Review: Ruby Throat - Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird
Ruby Throat - Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird

Out of a Black Cloud
Came a Bird

Ruby Throat

Available from KatieJane Garsied's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

KatieJane Garside started her career with the manic-depressive band Daisy Chainsaw, a rather anarchic ensemble that favored circus atmospheres as their vocalist swung from lofting angel to ranting madwoman. Live shows dazzled attendees while the group charted back-to-back #1 hits in the UK. Garside, one day in 2006, found Chris Whittingham busking. Thus was Ruby Throat born. It was that simple. This is their second release, and it's as eccentric as you might expect.

In a babydoll voice, a strange cross between Cheryl Dilcher, Kate Bush, and an over-the-top porn actress, Garside encants sweet and halting stream-of-consciousness seductions of pain, sex, and darkness straight from the back room at Usher mansion, even more off her melodious rocker than Lisa Germano, perhaps Tori Amos' smothered Freudian reflection in shattered glass. Neither the promo sheet nor the lyric booklet give a clue as to who's doing what, so I'll not assume anything beyond Garside's vocals, but keyboards, guitars, and other instruments sparsely populate the decorously forlorn atmospheres, erecting lacy feathers and warm frosts, a 4AD borough stripped down to essentials.

Don't expect the thunder of Garside's past. That's left behind. It has no place here. Occasionally, glimpses of a sort of happiness arise, as in Barebaiting, but don't bet on its longevity. Beneath the frailty of tracing paper palimpsests there sits a swamp, and it pulls at the listener almost invisibly. No noisome fetor, little in the way of evident monsters, but it's there, all the more disturbing for the facade. That is to say, Out of a Black Cloud Came a Bird is not what it seems at first to be, though the chaotic cover lends broad hints, and a rather grimly delightful gem for all that, something rarely emitted but gawdawfully welcome when such entrancing mutant cephali finally sneak through the wall of sleep. It will, I guarantee, grab you from the start. Not through theatrics and explosions but a form of "What the F---?" consciousness that sinks its hooks in far deeper than expected.

Track List:

  • Billows Her Skirts
  • Spark
  • In the Arms of Flowers
  • Bolt the Horse
  • Barebaiting
  • My Head
  • Mynah Metamorphose
  • Beneath my Undress
  • It's All I have Left of You
  • Nothing
All songs written by KatieJane Garside and Chris Whittingham
except Nothing (Townes van Zandt).

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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