Tuesday 19 July 2016

Zoe Kyoti, Wishbone

Whest Records WrL-3010 

Technically, Wishbone is Zoe Kyoti’s solo debut, but there’s a familiarity about the songs, an aroma of Greatest Hits, which can be explained by the fact that some are much-loved in stripped-down versions by Zoe’s occasional string band, The Magic Beans. ’Monsoon’, with two previous incarnations – on The Magic Beans’ debut and Matt Owens’ album, The Aviator’s Ball – has achieved the status of a classic by now. Here powerful nature becomes a metaphor for the necessity of letting go to achieve selfhood, at whatever destructive cost. An ecstatic hymn to bliss, and deeper than anyone suspected, ‘Monsoon’ opened the floodgates to Zoe’s creativity. All the songs on Wishbone are self-penned or co-writes, and constitute a defining statement of the Kyoti aesthetic. 

She has a very feminine capacity for finding fresh personalities to inhabit with every song. The title track blends sensuality and restlessness in a very winning way. ‘Don’t Spend Your Love On Me’ comes close to uncovering the scam on which mass entertainment is based (it’s as if Dusty Springfield admitted she didn’t only want to be with you). 

In ’My Evil Soul’ Zoe play-acts the femme fatale with great gusto (to sweet Hot Club guitar licks from Uli Elbracht), but the demons are real on ’Old Rope’. Zoe loses all inhibitions in this especially sombre song, relieved only by a neo-psychedelic chorus. When it all gets too dark, she can always return to unabashed beauty, of which ‘No Way Back’ and ’Anything You Can Dream’ are prime examples. 

But it seems that prettiness is no longer enough for Zoe Kyoti. Seductive charm comes easily, and her ability to enchant and beguile is a given. Yet Wishbone is interesting for the way the desire to please co-exists with hints of depravity and malice and just enough dark side to exude a heady sense of danger. This of course, makes Zoe more attractive than ever, and so we come full circle. 

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