Lo Carmen: Lovers Dreamers Fighters (Chiquita Records)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Can someone be a lover, a dreamer, and a fighter or are those mutually exclusive groups? The answer is an unequivocal no. It is possible to be all three. In fact, sometimes I am all three within the same evening. I digress. Back to the point, which is Lo Carmen’s new album – Lovers Dreamers Fighters. This is just gorgeous. Lo’s voice is the voice of angels. It reminds me a bit of Hope Sandoval. 
Sometimes It’s Hard (Track 2) is one of those songs that completely consumes me. This song is a duet with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. From the opening guitar riffs, it’s clear that this song is special. Then Lo sings and just can reduce a grown man to tears. The sheer beauty of this song is difficult to comprehend, even harder to write about. Lo’s high notes bring me to my knees. And when the interplay between Lo and Bonnie gets going, shivers are not uncommon. It doesn’t seem like they would be, but their voices are very well suited together. 
When the prior song ends and Last Thing I’ll Remember (Track 3) begins, it reinforces what a great one two combination those songs are. This song is how I would define “my” definition of country music. The next person that asks me to define country music will be be told. “listen to Lo Carmen sing Last Thing I’ll Remember”. That will pretty much say what I will have trouble articulating. The pedal steel work on this number is about as close as you can get to heaven without kicking the bucket.
The writing throughout this album is absolutely “wow” worthy. Very intelligent lyrics that also fit together quite nicely in their respective songs. The song that really showcases Lo’s songwriting the best is I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell (Track 6)
Decorum made a run for it
Grace hid beneath a table til it quit
Consequence be damned I said
I’m not waiting round for any man
Propriety stopped by last night
Askin’ if I felt alright
Shame crept in as the sun came up
And offered me another cup
Regret called in bout 9am
I said I’m never talkin’ to you again
Things look different in the morning light
You can pack your bags, slink back in the night
I slipped, I stumbled, I fell
I slipped, I stumbled, I fell
Those are some pretty heady lyrics. Coupled with that voice, words escape me. 
And just when I think it can’t get any better, Lo hits me with Parting Gifts (Track 9). This song takes raw beauty to levels never before seen. The delivery of the vocals and the very sparse melodies and instrumentation just round out Parting Gifts in the most perfect way possible. It is sheer bliss. It is also like taking three or four body blows due to the heaviness of the lyrics. 
Loene (Lo) Carmen is an Australian musician and actress. She has been recording music since the early 2000s. It appears that she is just hitting her stride, as this album is proof of the hard work and dedication put in throughout the years. In other words, Lo is getting better. It will be hard to fathom the next offering being better than this one, but I am ready. Until then, we have Lovers Dreamers Fighters to keep us warm and cozy.
Listen and buy Lovers Dreamers Fighters

 

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