Faye Webster’s music unfolds like a dream – things make a sort of oblique sense, but ordinary things are presented in a new order, both startling and unsettling. New album ‘Atlanta Millionaires Club’ – her third to date – typifies this approach; a kind of somnambulist R&B meets bleached out Americana fusion, it presents a hyper-personal lyrical flair with lashings of pedal steel guitar.
It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking. The strings and brass that pepper ‘Jonny’ present a truly gorgeous palette, an evocative foundation for an astonishing dissection of loneliness and heartbreak that skirts just short of the maudlin as she sings: “my dog is my best friend and he doesn’t even know what my name is…”
A record that opens in tears – the first line is “looks like I’ve been crying again…” – ‘Atlanta Millionaires Club’ curiously rejoices in sound, an album that never feels less than inspired. There’s that jaunty woodwind on that sorrowful opening track ‘Room Temperature’, the swaggering bassline on ‘Right Side Of My Neck’ or the breathy JBs style saxophone on ‘Come To Atlanta’.
An intensely musical experience, Faye Webster seems to use the broad-ranging experiences of her opening two records as something to fall back on. Indeed, she’s capable of moving from R&B bumpers to country laments in the same song, or even – in the case of low-slung album highlight ‘Flowers’ – linking with Father, the head honcho of Atlanta’s influential hip-hop stable Awful Records.
As she explains in the press note the material on ‘Atlanta Millionaires Club’ was written “fresh from a feeling…” and there’s a certain freshness to both the recording and the songwriting itself. Despite it’s innate musicality the album retains a certain sparsity – ‘Jonny’ feels like a handful of musicians in a room, while ‘Pigeon’ is little more than electric keys, a drum kit thump, and that ubiquitous, unfathomably expressive pedal steel guitar.
‘Atlanta Millionaires Club’ is an odd, addictive, contradictory record, as though Faye Webster is using the evocative nature of her arrangements as an invitation to her introspection. The final reprise finds her reaching some form of peaceful transgression, finally admitting “the sorrows of love’s slow passing… Goodbye, Jonny”.
An odd but beautiful and often remarkable album, ‘Atlanta Millionaires Club’ has a depth of feeling that is difficult to shake off. Material that evidently emerged from a dark point in her life, this should represent the point Faye Webster steps out into the light.
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