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Album Review

by Miriam Clancy


Review Date
18th January 2010
Reviewed by
Hayley Koorts

Ahhh, Aoteroa, you truly are an oasis of creative gems shaded from the corrupting glare of the Simon Cowells and multi-million soul-snatching record labels running rampant across the Atlantic. Those misguided pawns, seduced by the lure of hit records and over exposure on MTV, fall victim to the head honchos that monopolize the global music world under the guise of being their lauded “protégé”. Enter our key specimen and antidote: 35-year old Auckland-born Miriam Clancy. She’s the kind of home-grown secret I don’t want the world to find out about – for fear of spoiling her musical integrity with synthesizers and hair extensions. Luckily her marvellous follow-up to 2006’s debut “Lucky One” isn’t showing any signs of this.

“Magnetic” is an intimate invitation into the volatile world of Clancy’s emotions. To me, it upholds my traditional ideal of what a true songwriter is. Their music is self-indulgently and exclusively for their own benefit; their lyrics bleed therapeutically from their own heartaches. They reject the task of crowd-pleasing and platinum-selling, as these superficial concerns often obscure the purity of their musical journey. Perhaps I’m simply using Miss Clancy as an excuse to board the soapbox – after suppressing my disillusion in the current Taylor Swift oversaturation for far too long...

All the same, the beguiling beauty has not disappointed with her second album. The consensus is that we are witnessing the evolution of a mesmerising musician and writer. Her spirited yet vulnerable appeal strikes a chord with the fickle feminist within me, bringing to mind the “made it through the storm” gusto of such female singers as Tori Amos or Kate Bush. Her songs are honest, and do not deny the existence of a weathered past. I think this is why I always seem to find something worth admiring about the acoustic songwriter. Her work cannot be severed from herself, as it is an extension of her own being. The depth of her naked dedication can be testified by the fact that she actually cried whilst penning and performing the tracks. I feel privileged to witness the open-souled catharsis of this fine young minstrel.

“Ghost Town” is an affectionate ode to the love-hate relationships a lot of ex-pats share with their homeland. “Join the Chorus” is a swanky, finger-clicking stroll down nostalgia lane. My personal favourite, “You Ain’t the Worst Mistake I Made” is her bluesy answer to Susan Cadogan’s “Hurt So Good”.

Miriam Clancy is not in the business of topping the charts, but after taking the time to listen to the album several times, I find myself becoming very attached to her songs. I know they weren’t written about me or for me, or even with me in mind, but the beauty of a good songwriter is that they let you fool yourself into thinking otherwise...

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