Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
There are pretty voices and there are gorgeous, heavenly voices. Valerie June falls into the latter category. Her voice makes me emotional. A combination of happy feelings, yet she taps into something that also makes me want to cry. Of course, I would never let myself cry. At least I won’t admit to it here in Twangri-La. OK, maybe it happened. I can neither confirm nor deny such actions. What I can confirm is that June’s voice is so powerful, that ts will evoke emotions inside that have laid dormant for a long time. Maybe emotions you didn’t even know existed. Listening to The Order of Time is a cathartic experience.
Her music is a bit of a hybrid of rhythm and blues, blues, gospel, and country. She is a breath of fresh air in an era where almost every woman sings with that strong and offensive affectation. June does not and I commend her for that. She sings naturally and effortlessly. Don’t get me wrong, her music has plenty of twang. She just sings in a manner that is completely unpretentious.
A track that seductively grabs you and holds you is the slightly psychedelic number, If And (Track 4). This track truly showcases June’s ethereal voice. This song is absolutely gorgeous. If And is delivered as smoothly as the softest velvet you ever felt. It is about believing in your dreams and not compromising them for anyone or anything. At least that is my interpretation.
Valerie gets a little more bluesy and maybe a bit more psychedelic on the next track, Man Done Wrong. Not really a tremendous mystery as to the meaning of this song. Some man did something not so good. Well, I think any man can relate to this number. May I speak for all men? We are not perfect and sometimes prone to make mistakes. It’s true, I cannot tell a lie.
Some of the songs get a bit more trippy and more in the alternative singer songwriter realm. Take Astral Plane (Track 7) for instance. This is a very heavenly track, again with soothing vocals that totally engulf you and keep you feeling like you are wrapped in something warm and safe, like a blanket.
After more listening and pondering, me thinks Valerie June sounds a bit like, and has the same musical qualities as Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star. I get the same feeling when I listed to both singers. This is definitely and infectious album and one to be cherished for a long time.