The picture is set: a tablecloth on the lush green grass, a rolling hill. Food is aplenty and good conversation for company. When the silence looms, what plays but Tekla Waterfield. An enchanting voice, a disposition in the light-the songs are an essence of all that is well in a world that seems to not be. New Skies is the name of the album, and it’s a new shade of blue they’re painting the hemisphere.
A soft & slow start
Warming up the needle with Can’t Have Me, Tekla shows us the range and power of her voice. I’ve felt an affinity like this otherwise only to Alison Krauss, a levitating cloud. The song is an essence of what can be done with simple instruments and a pure idea-to create. The rolling fingerpicking keeps you dreaming on the hill, where all seems to be well in the world.
Can’t Move On is the second song on the album. It has a nice Union Station feel to it, while tantalizing harmonics reel you in. The pauses between choruses and breakdowns allow you to focus on the flourishes occasionally. It’s true, you can’t move on, from this song. The closing solo is genius considering the rich textures that grace the tune.
Following the bouncing feel of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon, Yesterday was a Bad Day switches to a pop feel. It might be about a terrible feeling, but Tekla sure doesn’t make it feel that way. Her song tells you to learn from a poor day and move on, it’ll get better. The monologue in between was a nice touch, makes it feel like a scene.
Kudos to the backgrounds in the title track, New Skies. They really carry the song, which would have sounded like another one if not for this effect. The acoustic solos really help bridge parts of the song together, with the voice sounding like the positive voice inside your head.
From a stroll to a shuffle
Mr. Browntown, as the name suggests has some funky vibes in it. It balances out the album instead of it making it too mellow, with an upbeat switch. It moves in jogging pace, Tekla’s voice morphing for the energy required for the track. Good change and delivery within the album.
Once again displaying the majesty of her voice and control, Lie Lie Lie vibrates with a newfound rebirthed energy. After the half of the album is completed, Tekla changes gears to a whole new feel within the same album, introducing some more layers with the new instruments, and the addictive Moog keyboard sound. Saxophone solo must be on loop for some time to appreciate it.
Tekla pairs with Luke Abbot to create a soothing track with a subliminal message. Love Comes Along marks another simple acoustic track with generous space to ensure that the message percolates with ease. The dynamic creates a rich complex between the timbre and treble, a great cocktail to enjoy.
37 is a psychedelic experience with Tekla, echoing drums and a bass heavy track complementing her soft voice. It is a journey that you’re drawn along to taking, with all the stops and breaks along the way. The dominating drums create a good shift from the acoustic track that was Love Comes Along. As the song builds it folds within itself more meaning, and what you’re left with is her depiction of the memory. Instrumental work really sells this song, best on the playlist for me.
The disco in the indie
Come On Jane brings in the pop-disco sound with the ringing guitars and bass. Each song is responding to the last, making it a whole and enriching album to experience. The upbeat song is a cool addition to a very impressive set of songs for this album, her voice taking on roles like a method actor.
Closing with Strange Places, a reverberating guitar guides in Tekla’s charming voice. The synths and single notes parry with the vocals, while creating a magic carpet for her voice to glide on. New Skies is a 41-minute break from your real world into an alternate space, where it’s ok to smile through the day.
The conclusion is in your expression after listening to Tekla Waterfield. If the balance created the effect that you wanted, then perfect. If the songs made you melancholy, they were designed to. Each song has achieved its intention, and the slow is broken down by the quick occasionally. Now back to the rolling hill where we once lay.