Julia Biel

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Julia Biel
LABELS: Rokit Records
ALBUM TITLE: Not Alone
WORKS: Not Alone
PERFORMER: Julia Biel (voice, cavaqinho), various musicians
CATALOGUE NO: RKT 010
Biel straddles the three-way jazz/folk/quasi-ethnic musical divide as a matter of instinct rather than contrivance and her song writing – and there’s a lot of it on this, her debut album – is extremely sound. It’s her vocal style, though, that’s truly arresting. Neither gutsy nor pretty-pretty, hers is a voice which can shift from a chorister-like purity to a breathy rasp within a couple of songs, with a delivery that manages to encompass everything from optimism to an offhand world-weariness. Don’t feel obliged to take my word for this, though, as her website (juliabiel.com) features a rolling series of snippets from the CD. She’s been likened to everyone from Norah Jones to Björk, but whatever your view I’m in no doubt that her voice can actually stand far more exposure than the somewhat congested instrumental arrangements on this slightly gritty-sounding recording allow. Roger Thomas

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