Albums of the week: This Is Really Going To Hurt, Winterreise, First Farewell
New releases from Flyte, Schubert, and Peggy Seeger
This Is Really Going To Hurt
This “lovely” second album from Flyte – named after the gilded young aristocrat in Brideshead Revisited – has echoes of Nick Drake’s “plangent, semi-classical folk-rock”, said Will Hodgkinson in The Times. You can also detect the influence of the Kinks’ “music hall stomp” and the Byrds’ “laid-back harmoniousness”. But frontman Will Taylor’s ultimate inspiration on this “enjoyably restrained wallow in abject misery” seems to be his own broken heart. When Taylor sings “You stripped me of everything and I hate you, I really do”, you can hear his pain since splitting with his girlfriend in every note.
You might feel we’ve had rather a lot of break-up albums lately; but few have been this good, said Mark Edwards in The Sunday Times. Flyte’s sound is “simpler” on this second collection, which combines the “melodic sense of Crowded House, the vulnerability of Sufjan Stevens and the musical sensibility of mid-1960s California”. The stand-out track is Losing You, which is so intimate, it feels as if it has “never left the lonely bedroom”.
Schubert - Joyce DiDonato and Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Few women sing Schubert’s “desolate, passionate anti-odyssey of the rejected male lover” – the 24 songs were originally written for the male tenor voice – but when they do, it can be “memorable”, said David Cairns in The Sunday Times. And never more so than in this “superb” recording by the American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, with the Canadian conductor-pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin. DiDonato has a “voice of rare beauty, but even more heartbreaking than the loveliness of her singing is her endlessly varied dramatic colouring of the text”. It’s “incomparable”.
Drawing on her “formidable range of vocal colour, DiDonato captures the drama within each song”, agreed Fiona Maddocks in The Observer. She brings beauty and fresh insight, whether it’s the “dislocated mood” of Erstarrung (Numbness); the “simplicity, then hopelessness” of Der Lindenbaum (The Linden Tree); or the “pounding pathos” of Die Post (The Post). “You might go back to your favourite tenor afterwards, but you’ll have thought about this masterpiece anew.”
Billed as Peggy Seeger’s final album of original songs, First Farewell arrives 67 years after the folk singer’s debut recording, said Ludovic Hunter-Tilney in the FT. Its title gives a nod to The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, the song her husband Ewan MacColl wrote for her. It is also a “sly” intimation that there are more farewells to come. Certainly, this impressive collection doesn’t feel like a “grand goodbye”. These songs “aren’t big, lapidary affairs, but rather they unfold with elegance and restraint”.
Seeger’s “spry, lively vocals” and lyrics “burrow into many territories”, said Jude Rogers in The Guardian. Themes include digital communication, environmental collapse, feminism, love and time – “the latter nestling closest to the folk songs” for which she first became known. Other songs “slip-slide gorgeously between magical realism and memory”. And the finale, Gotta Get Home By Midnight, is superb: a twisted Cinderella narrative about a woman getting younger by the minute. “That little glass slipper just fitted me fine,” sings Seeger. “She’ll be back.”