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Album Review: Katie Melua – Secret Symphony

3 min read

Georgia-born singer Katie Melua adds yet another string to her bow this year with the release of her 5th studio album appropriately titled Secret Symphony and that string is quite literal in the case of this sweetly composed project which sees the singer performing with a full orchestra.

KatieMeluaSecretSymphonyFamed for her pitch perfect and faultless vocals as well as for her exquisite talents as one of the UK’s leading songwriters, Melua has had a very prosperous career to date. Her first single, The Closest Thing To Crazy, along with following hits including Nine Million Bicycles, Call Of The Search and The Flood have seen the musician find her place within the UK’s most elite singer-songwriters and has firmly cemented herself as one of the most successful stars to find international fame and carry the British flag to all corners of the world.

The title alone begs for a listen as the singer poses elegantly with her guitar within a complimenting framed record sleeve but it is what’s contained within the albums 37 minutes that really sets the senses off.

Beginning with the album opener Gold In Them Hills Melua is on top form and she takes on an iconic and beloved Ron Sexsmith number, performing it with genuine sincerity and grandeur. Strings burst into life within its gentle intro before Melua broaches the track with care and precision in this gorgeous opening ballad.

Up next is Better Than A Dream which has been handpicked as the lead single for Secret Symphony. A delicate, acoustic track with a slightly Spanish feel to it, Better Than A Dream sits beautifully within the albums opening numbers as the singer shimmers vocally within its radiant yet inhibiting instrumental structure.

Further into the record Moonshine offers us a track with an uptempo rhythm and a jazz scented melody. Opening with a playful bass intro the track was the closing number on Fran Healy successful debut solo record Wreckorder back in 2010. Accompanying Melua on the updated version of the track is a superb string orchestration that offers a new angle on the beautiful track.

Secret Symphony also sees Melua pairing up once again with long time collaborator Mike Batt who has worked with Melua throughout the duration of her career. Batt contributes to two songs on the record within its latter half – The Cry Of The Lone Wolf and Heartstrings. Both additions resonate well on Secret Symphony and see a continuation to Melua’s early recordings with Batt. The Cry Of The Lone Wolf is a shy, acoustic guitar driven inclusion with some gorgeous lyrics such as “following the smoke of your glowing fire, shining through the twilight, then you slipped away as the flames grew higher, back into the deep night” showcasing the talented singers songwriting craft at its best while Heartstrings raises the tempo slightly as it bares all in a vulnerable ode to love.

Secret Symphony is a syrupy addition to Melua’s stunning catalogue and career and the perfect follow up to 2010’s, The House. The collection will see Melua take to the road throughout 2012 giving us the opportunity of seeing the starlet perform tracks from the latest release with dates penciled in at Hampton Court Palace on June 22nd as well as at the Hammersmith Apollo on October 10th.

With such a strong collection that boasts an exquisite balance of covers and original penned gems, Secret Symphony is the perfect release for Melua to usher out the winter days and help the singer blossom yet again like springs first flower.

Buy ‘Katie Melua – Secret Symphony’ from Amazon