London-born, California resident Cornelia Murr gives her debut album Lake Tear of the Clouds a UK release and the result is a brilliant intimate indie caress, full of confessions and tales of lost love. Although it was an album that might not have been. Upon recording a four-song EP, the producer Jim James, best known as singer for My Morning Jacket, encouraged her to put out a full-length record after hearing the store of tunes she had built up through the years.
When asked about Murr, James said “whenever I hear her voice… I am lost to the world.” This might sound like an ailment that would pose problems in the studio. Luckily, it seems like while manning the desk, James managed to not space out too much, as this album is beautifully decorated. Throughout the record, particularly on tracks like Who Am I To Tell You and You Got Me, the production is wide and expansive, while minimal and raw, leaving Murr’s tender voice at the center. Be prepared to be drifted away, maybe not to a different world, but to somewhere warm and comfortable, as the layered vocals soothe. The instrumentation and production on the record has a clear folk sensibility, with raw drums and guitars, but it is the subject matter and the warm melodies on many of tracks that add a more soulful R&B feel.
The highlight on the album and perhaps Murr at her most tranquil comes in the form of the first single Man On My Mind. A letter to a quickly fleeting love: “I know I projected on to you / My own colorful reel / I simply had man on my mind / And you delivered the lines.” The almost reggae sounding song chugs along, beautifully soft and airy. It’s a joy to listen to. Overall it is an impressive debut from the LA-based singer, but one wonders: would the intended EP have been a smarter choice, leaving the listener pleased but hungry for more?