Alessi’s Ark plays it safe on Love is the Currency

Alessi's Ark - Love is the CurrencyLove is the Currency feels like a debut from Alessi’s Ark, aka Alessi Laurent-Marke. Technically it’s album number four, though with a four-year break since the last album, which crowned a period of prodigious productivity for the young artist (well-seasoned though still comfortably in her 20s), maybe we should treat it as a fresh start.

Well, to be fair though, it’s not a huge leap for Laurent-Marke, who remains an accomplished artist operating at a simmer rather than a boil. That’s not to say she hasn’t got something to her. No, not at all – there are little touches on Love is the Currency, little reference points and reminisces of more than common interest.

“Love Travels” speaks a little of the angularity of Strange Mercy-era St Vincent, “Desert” the poetic jangle of PJ Harvey. In parts of single “Wives” and “Lovefly” you can hear some of Radiohead in one of their more emotive modes, in “DLD” (one of the strongest pieces) something of the big band bombast of Broken Social Scene. Elsewhere perhaps elements of the Beatles are evident in the jaunty but poignant chord arrangements.

Perhaps the strongest cut on the record is lead single “Cut the Cord”, which if it were exposed to the right atmospheric conditions certainly might have had hit potential. It has something of Bombay Bicycle Club at their guilty-pleasuring finest, capped with a deliciously camp three-chord progression. It’s a sparkling power shuffle at the indie disco number that makes you wonder if perhaps Laurent-Marke’s powers wouldn’t be best deployed in the realm of unrestrained banger-making.

All of these little reference points, however, do speak of a potential shortcoming, which is a want for something that is uniquely hers. To listen to Love is the Currency feels a bit like playing spot the influence (rather than spot the allusion). Ultimately, it feels a risk-averse. There’s a place for accomplished subtlety in the world for sure, but there’s a potency in here that makes you wonder what an obviously intelligent songwriter of Laurent-Marke’s ilk could achieve with a little bit of the experimentation that defines so many of her forebears.

This is accentuated by her mellow vocal range, which pulls things together almost too neatly (though interestingly, it doesn’t always sit on top of the mix). This is perhaps one of those classic examples of albums at which you feel the need to nit-pick, precisely because it is so nearly there, so accomplished that you just want to be just a little bit better so you can love it unquestioningly. Sadly, we’re not quite at that stage.

Release: 27th October 2017, Zooey Records


One Response to “Alessi’s Ark plays it safe on Love is the Currency”


  1. Alessi’s Ark plays it safe on Love is the Currency – Live List - 27/10/2017

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