Ruth Theodore “Cactacus” (Aveline Records, 2016)

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, but this has been kicking about a while, the sleeve just didn’t want to make me play it.  I was wrong, it’s a sort of Alisha’s Attic does dustbowl blues, strange.  Wonky and slightly out of focus its wordy off kilter is like little else, refreshingly.  The cacophony of odd ball percussion and woozy ethereal voice is like the first time you hear Kate Bush, revelatory, we she sings “can’t help who you love” it recounts those pangs of teenage love in real clarity.

It is jumpy, bouncing around like an over enthusiastic puppy, it goes in all directions, all of the time, wrapped up in an effervescent joy.  There is no day that can’t be cheered by this record.  As for a reference point – a sound alike – it’s a struggle – genuinely difficult to place it – Bjork goes country? Her voice is a bit like when Cerys Mathews went country – it would be very much at home on her 6 Music show.

It’s a terrific music to commute to, it’d break the drudge of work in the dark, home in the dark, a true piercing shaft of sunshine, vitamin D in a cardboard sleeve.  ‘Wishbone’ is a straight Tori Amos piano ballad, with a gospel flourish fused with some classic musings, and Amos is a reference point I guess.  There’s elements of Liz Green and Kate Nash, not sure how it would work live, but most of all its a kooky, weird, beguiling listen.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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