Dreamy indie-folk with occasional highlights from Dutch singer-songwriter.
Chantal Acda may not be a particularly familiar name to most AUK readers, but this record is actually the Dutch singer-songwriter’s fourth solo album on top of records with three different bands going back to 1999. So, what have we been missing? Well, on the evidence of ‘Saturday Moon’, Acda is an accomplished songwriter who is also blessed with a subtle, yet strong and distinctive voice. The album itself represents something of a departure from previous works in that Acda follows her own instincts, rather than pursuing a particular sound: “with my previous records I still had this idea that they should be done in a style with which I could fit in somewhere…But with this one I didn’t want to fit in, so that opened up so many options. The sky is the limit because I am not going to fit in anyway.”
Having originally envisaged a solo record, one voice accompanied only by herself, she felt alone and needed to connect with others. Acda ended up utilising eighteen different musicians on the album including Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker from Low (whom she has supported playing in Europe) and guitar legend Bill Frisell with whom Acda had previously worked, including recording a live album released in 2018. She explains, “this record taught me things about myself that I was not fully aware of…my need to work with other people was really necessary and it became sort of a celebration of that kind of musical contact”.
The resulting album is a collection of skilfully crafted songs, delivered in a sometimes dreamy and floating manner, but one which manages to stay the right side of the kind of recondite musings that it sometimes treads uncomfortably close to. At its best, such as on ‘Disappear’, Acda’s indie-folk shows innovation and a vigour that concludes with a mesmeric jam of instruments. However, not all tracks reach the same heights. Overall, the album is perhaps a bit too weighted in the direction of quiet, acoustic and occasionally whimsical folk. Nevertheless ‘Saturday Moon’ has enough highlights to maintain interest and is certainly a worthwhile listen.