After being asked to leave her former trip-hop home of Sneaker Pimps, Kelli Ali (also known as Kelli Dayton) started her own solo project, releasing two albums in quick succession (‘Tigermouth’ and ‘Psychic Cat’). After a short break, she’s come back with a fantastically ethereal record, the soon-to-be-released ‘Rocking Horse’.
This return to the music biz is possibly the furthest removed from the electronic introduction Ali first had to the industry, with ‘Rocking Horse’ being all about the folk, incorporating medieval and classical elements along the way to create something truly unique. Unfortunately, at thirteen tracks long, it does tend to get a little samey and is hard to digest in one sitting but as gentle background music it serves its purpose well.
‘The Savages’ in particular, showcases the medieval melodies that make this album so distinctive. Flute arrangements that sound like they’re straight out of the 14th century are the perfect antidote to identikit indie, in small doses. ‘Heaven’s Door’ is a luscious example of Ali’s ability to create soft coffee-table music, although to dismiss the beautiful textures completely is almost criminal. ‘A Storm in a Teacup’ is a sparser affair, with violins smoothly singing in the background. As ever, Ali’s voice is soothing and calming, something that makes ‘Rocking Horse’ perfect for the morning after the night before.
All this is well and good though, until you consider the album as a whole. With a couple of tracks taken off, it would be a better length to absorb in one go, but as it is the very things that make it such a rare effort make it so hard to get a grasp off without hitting the pause button every once in a while.
Standout track: The Savages