Fiona Mackenzie - Elevate - www.folking.com

What a surprise this beautifully crafted album is. If you were to measure it by the standards of most ‘folk' albums it would be leagues above for originality. Although Fiona is steeped in the tradition having emerged from the ranks of Seelyhoo back in 1995 it is the sumptuous sounds of producer Calum Malcolm that lend MacKenzie's waspish vocals a cushion of velvet on which to travel. On the opening track "When The Sunny Sky Has Gone" our heroine appears to be following in the wake of Katie Melua with delicately picked nylon strung guitar joined by gently understated piano. Inventive without being indulgent, this is the kind of album that will make you appreciate the arrangement as much as the words...just be prepared to be in a melancholy mood when you do.

16 January 2008