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Zoë Bestel - Sir Lucas & The Moon


Apart from HRH Prince Charles, I am Zoë Bestel's biggest fan. So, this will inevitably be a very positive review. This is her debut album and, at the time of writing, her only album (more is the pity).

I put it to Zoë that she has some elements of Björk as an influence, she agrees and has said she likes the Icelandic singer. You can hear that in the opening track "Listen" especially in some emphasised vowels, and the cuteness of the consonants in the word 'little'. It's not just an umlaut she shares.

The definition and control in Zoë's voice is something I've mentioned before, but listen to the album in detail and you won't fail to be impressed.

This album was produced when Zoë was just 17, maybe younger, and many of the songs show teenage frustation "Lucas" is a great example. I did similar things in maths, many many years ago, a friend of mine and me writing computer programs at the back of the room. Frustration with other people who don't understand you comes through, but the result has been this wonderful music. Two years on and she's already writing new material, all originals, but even her cover music is just as impressive, but, I digress...

"Nobody Knows" uses tension in the difference of musical patterns to great effect. This shows the ability of this talented young songwriter to the very best effect.

Zoë uses a chorus pedal to good effect to add depth to a solo vocal, but it's never over done.

The songs are varied, "Winter Song" has a haunting introduction with a tiny, subtle bit of shaker percussion. Again, nothing is over done, that's a great attribute in a musician.

What is the genre? I'm not sure. Zoë sings at many folk festivals, she calls it nu-folk, but it's certainly not as niche as that makes it sound. Don't let the word 'folk' put you off, there's no mandolin, penny whstle or bodhran drum to be heard!

Just as you get comfortable, "Long Distant Relationship" almost thumps (comparitively) in. I can see "Winter Song (reprise)" being used in some BBC drama, as the end piece of a drama, with the hero looking out over a grey deserted beach as the sun sets.

Nowhere in this album is a note out of place, a vocal point missed or is there anything to irritate.

The only thing I can really criticise is the lack of a second album and the fact I had to learn how to enter an umlaut on the keyboard.

Well recorded and produced. This is definitely one to get a "Cool Cat Ukes Recommended Album" award. There won't be many of these, it marks an album essential for any ukulele fan's collection.

Buy over at zoebestel.co.uk. If you want to see a little more of Zoë's thinking, there's a light-hearted video interview here.

10 tracks, 39 minutes.

1. Listen
2. Reading Over Words
3. Nobody Knows
4. Lucas
6. Winter Song
7. Atman
8. Long Distant Relationship
9. Into The Night
10. Winter Song Reprise

Review - Simon Taylor, 11th June 2016

Like Simon, Zoë didn't go to university, it's not for everyone. Everyone has great things inside, just find a way to let them out.