This review is one that I worte a couple of years (probably September/October 2006) ago for the alternativemalta website (at the mo it's undergoing a faclift so you won't be able to go on it) It's one of the very few 'story' reviews that I did as I try to vary my writing style from time to time and use reviews as my guinea pigs.
I'm quite proud of this critical appreciation and when it was sent to Alela Diane she sent a positive reply (and our local newspaper,as I was writing reviews for it at the time rejected it) . Anyway here it is :
Alela Diane – The Pirate’s Gospel
The great ship sailed upon the crystal blue waters. Sturdy, intimidating and mighty, the S.S. Conquesta made every sailor shake and jump overboard. Not because the ship itself was dangerous, no, it was because it was manned by the filthiest most bloodthirsty pirates known to mankind.
Yes, they pillaged, stole, destroyed and left their mark all over the world.
The leader of this pack of ravenous hyenas was no other then Captain Rumfast. A man so evil and cunning that Blackadder wouldn’t be able to think of a similar analogy. A man who killed so many people that there was an actual dent in the world’s population.
But today these brutes were on a MISSION. They had discovered that there was an exotic treasure hidden on the mysterious isle D’Alela, a treasure that would amount to such riches and personal fortune that it would make their previous expeditions look like a waste of time.
Captain Rumfast was worried. He knew that this could involve some type of trap. Although a seasoned veteran, he couldn’t help feeling uneasy.
Finally the land appeared within his telescope. ‘LAND AHOY’ he bellowed, the ship crashed into the sandy beach and the horde of pirates tumbled onto the coast screaming and whooping as pirates are bound to do.
After hours of searching, Captain Rumfast, aided by his trusty sidekick Sideship Bob discovered a beautiful raven haired beauty sitting on a chair. By her feet was the coveted treasure chest. Both Captain and Sidekick were trembling with excitement. In fact Sideship Bob had to go and relieve himself in a nearby bush. Suddenly she pulled out an acoustic guitar and said and started to play.
And the songs she played!
Ten very short ditties, simple but so melodic and fragile that Captain Rumfast was struck with awe. He had never heard anything like it. This was music that people can only dream of. Absolutely unpretentious. Just a voice and the guitar. Mighty great song after mighty great song.
The maiden's voice, HER VOICE! Unsophisticated yet so very tuneful. Even her pronunciation had an alluring factor. Somtimes extending vowels, sometimes going high-pitched then morphing into a muted yowl.
What did she sing about? Pirates, the sea of loss, of love. It was spellbinding! Something an old sea dog could relate to!
When it was over Captain Rumfast stood still like a statue and fell in rigor mortis. She was a 21st century siren!
Sideship Bob (stll in the bushes) heard the fall, shot the maiden,stole the treasure, called the other pirates and boarded the ship.
On opening the chest the new captain saw it brimming with CD copies of Alela Diane's ‘The Pirate’s Gospel’. He gingerly placed one on the ship’s stereo, and even this time everybody toppled over in rigor mortis when it was finished. The ship continued to sail unmanned, disappearing into the crimson sunset, destined to sail forever, never landing, just gliding.
in other Alela news, there will be a new album out this year. Diane is a very talented artist, who can use a bare bones song sound resonant and affecting. Not to mention a voice that is truly distinctive. Do invest in her debut album as it will haunt you ( as it did to me) for years to come.