Ciara lists Lisa Hannigan as an influence and Hannigan’s name was certainly was the first name on my lips as I listened to her sultry, Irish lilt. ‘Dead, Black’ is the first offering from this album and the name already made me want to love this track, being the lover of melancholy that I am. It has that haunting quality that I find irresistible, when done well, and this has been done very well. The production is fantastically warm, with the string opening setting the scene before the rhythm and acoustic guitar kick in. The vocals are rightly high in the mix; thick but not overdone with too much multi-tracking and harmonies.
It can sometimes be difficult to ‘pull off’ melancholy. It can too often sound over-theatrical or simply unrealistically bleak/morose. Ciara however, manages just to stay on the right side of the line and rather than ‘Dead, Black’ sounding frivolous or, alternatively, laid on too thick, it sounds authentic.
If Ciara manages to keep up this quality across her album, and adds some variety to the mix in terms of tempo, feel and subject matter, then that would be an album I’d be very keen on getting my hands on.