BeMyDelay - Hazy Lights (CD Boring Machines)

Marcella Riccardi made her name in the group’s Blake/e/e/e, Franklin Delano and Massimo Volume before unveiling her own solo/side project BeMyDelay. Her debut album ‘ToTheOtherSide’ was a glorious mix of folk-psych, drone with a dollop of experimentalism for fun. It was the kind of album that worked perfectly well on headphones on the way home from work, as on a stereo after getting in late from a night out.

Opening track ‘I Feared the Fury of My Wind’ tells you everything you need to know about the album. Riccardi has gone back to basics. She has stripped away all the effects, well most of them, and what we are left with is an acoustic guitar and her hushed vocals. It tells us that Riccardi is laying herself bare. She is removing the layers of effects, and drone, and that the songs themselves are more open. ‘You Are My Sunshine’ has a Desert Country twang to it that is as breath-taking as the landscape it is evoking. All in all, ‘Hazy Lights’ is one of the most honest albums in recent years.  

On ‘ToTheOtherSide’ Riccardi bathed us in psych drones. Her guitar sounded like it went on forever, while her vocals were drenched in reverb. On ‘Hazy Lights’ this has all been stripped away. What we are left with are dextrous acoustic guitar works outs and Riccadi’s lilting gossamer vocals. While a lot of the potency of ‘ToTheOtherSide’ has been removed, what we are left with does pack a punch. Even if its just subdued. On her debut Riccardi used effects to layer her vocals, but here she has nowhere to hide. They shine from the speakers like a blinding light. Sadly, however, the songs are not as strong as on her debut. At times it does not matter as her playing, and tone of voice, do enough to mask over any cracks, but at times it is hard to ignore. At the albums best, Riccardi is reminiscent of Linda Perhacs and Nick Drake, at worst it is an open mic night after work. NR

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