Album Review: Love Hotel by Keiko Higuchi

Album Name: Love Hotel
Artist: Keiko Higuchi
Year/Label: 2010 / Bishop Records

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Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

Keiko Higuchi has recorded these odd takes on some classic songs live on one occasion and the results are staggering. She’s doing something jazzy but also edging into whatever genre Diamanda Galás belongs to. She stretches, bends and sometimes breaks these familiar songs.

God bless the Child is turned into a lament where each syllable is exorcised and then discarded as if found wanting. At the same time the sense of loss is as profound as in the Billie Holiday version. Easy listening it’s not.

Blue Raincoat (missing the famous bit) is by Leonard Cohen or was before Higuchi tore it apart. As a Cohen fan I was fascinated with her feral, yet intimate way with the song. Her voice is an open wound, a siren turned mad by gazing to long at drowning sailors.

Day is Done by Nick Drake is no longer gentle and fraught, but anxious and bleeding from piano-infused mayhem wrought by Higuchi.

Her own E Minor-Blues-Don’t Take That Away From Me closes the album. It’s just as filled with tension as the other songs, as likely to cause you to fall in love with it or run screaming for the exit. Quite a few adventurous souls might think this album is worth the effort.

Track Listing
1. God Bless The Child
2. Black Coffee
3. Blue Raincoat
4. The Man I Love
5. Day Is Done
6. Parlez-Moi D’amour
7. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
8. Chelsea Hotel ‘2
9. E Minor-Blues-Don’t Take That Away From Me

[Keiko Higuchi MySpace]

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