Here’s some of the latest press and reviews about Louise Le May‘s beautiful album A Tale Untold:
“This wonderful debut album is a thoughtful and beautiful collection of enchanting songs from a unique talent. Writte with a keen eye for, and understanding of, those observations and details that transform the mundane into art, Le May is a worthy addition to an English tradition of songwriting that spans Ray Davies and Lennon and McCartney to Kate Bush and Kirsty MacColl.
Louise’s pure, sensual voice embraces the power of the simple and understated and this elegance of means is complemented by the sensitive arrangements of Louis Philippe and the intelligent and non-intrusive work of producer Ken Brake. Highlights include the delightful ‘Cassandra’, a pretty but poignant song shot through with narrative visions of pathos-riven domesticity, and the haunting ‘Broken Child’.
Stylistically diverse yet conceptually coherent, this album ranges across a variety of genres as it seeks to marry up creative intent with a rich variety of influences.” ****
– Greg Healey, Shindig!
“…this is bravely gentle, soul-assuaging music that needs to be played loud so that its often swooningly luxuriant attention to detail and hidden depths can be properly savoured. A truly enchanting disc.”
– David Kidman, FATEA
DOA review by Keiron Phelan:
“Back in the good old days (yeah, right) if you hadn’t made some kind of musical splash by the grand old age of, say, twenty-five, it was widely accepted that taking your Dad’s well-meant advice and finally knuckling down to your Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries day-job was probably a wise move. Speaking as one who didn’t get signed by a label until I was thirty-six, I’ve always been grateful that those days have long since passed, the more so when I come across a pleasure as unexpected as Louise Le May’s adept out-of-the-blue debut album A Tale Untold.
Being beyond the first flush, it’s still somewhat fortuitous that this collection of Le May’s songs ever saw the light of day and such luminaries as DJ and former El Records factotum Chris Evans and long-term indie mover and shaker Louis Philippe must be thanked for (in the former case) astutely recognising the quality of and disseminating Louise’s original rough demos and (in the latter) artfully handling the arrangement duties that brought this album to full fruition. The road, it seems, was long.
Yet as nurtured as this release may have been, the end result is no product of mentored guidance. A Tale Untold, from top to tail, is thoroughly Le May’s show. Singer-songwriters (for such she is) as a breed can incline towards either over earnest pleas or stern pronouncements as modes of lyrical delivery and thus render their territory a little tiresome. Arriving at the party fully formed, however, (to really mix my metaphors) allows Louise to adroitly bypass that whole jejune conceit and the narratives in all of her songs prove masterpieces of both economical lyrical persuasion and sheer vocal poise. That Le May is something of a Kate Bush fan becomes evident during the progress of the songs, although vocally she’s as reminiscent of Alison Goldfrapp during her faux-folk period with a hint of Lindsay Moore’s pensive “I Start Counting” and especially a de-cutesified Noosha Fox (I kid you not!), a far more resonant and (how to put this?) adult vocal presence than our Kate. Indeed, Le May does share both Bush’s imaginative sweep and freshness and matches her in the sophistication of her melody lines, yet steers largely clear of the blowsy, over-egged, hippy-dippyness that can undermine even the best of KB’s creations. Here the tone is well-earthed, the mysteries of life are wryly observed and as personal or idiosyncratic as the songs may be, the feeling is always that Louise is in the world with you, sharing it, not in some introspective parallel universe.
Arrangement wise A Tale Untold is a piano-centric affair, wisely allowing Le May’s voice centre stage position, dealing in effective and tastefully restrained embellishments (double-bass, string quartet and even a burst of cajon from Young Marble Giants’ Stuart Moxham) and not distractions. There’s the odd occasion when the shadow of La Bush falls a little too heavily upon proceedings for my taste, “Be My Guru” being an example. Other than that one could highlight pretty much the entire complement of songs present as particularly deserving of attention, the more so as their variety of tone is remarkable in itself. But, as space won’t permit, here’s the top of the cream.
A better melodically balanced song than “Cassandra” is hard to think of outside the realm of mid-’60s McCartney. Its lyrics of suburban limbo and longing find poetry in the ordinary and its double-edged sunniness and sadness are equally reminiscent of the glory days when Macca kept one eye warm and one eye cold. The clock-tick, Jacques Brel ‘world impatience’ influenced piece that is “Photographic” riffs on the hallucinogenic thinness of a repetitive life and contains a wordless vocal hook that simply does not let go. Meanwhile, the chorus of the deliberately sparse “Sink And Swim” is made gloriously enormous by simple dint of Le May’s massed twisting and descending lyrical lines.
Primus inter pares status, however, goes to the sublime and haunting tones of opener “Broken Child”. An almost Henry Jamesesque ghost-story of a song, featuring a beautifully understated scoring of woodwind and reminiscent of Serafina Steer’s criminally underrated “Peach Heart” this paean to the memory of an unhappy past epitomises the union of emotional complexity and expressive simplicity of which Le May is so singularly capable.
All said, A Tale Untold is a genuine ‘keeper’ of an album and a work – I can’t resist saying – that will grow in the telling.”
– Keiron Phelan
An interview with Keiron Phelan in DOA:
“Haunting and atmospheric…Louise’s ethereal voice sits above a classy, restrained backing…Fine singing and musicianship abound and there are distinctly beautiful segments…”
– Ian Croft
A Motley Miscillany’s Albums of Year 2015:
“A haunting collection of songs which can be (and is now being) lazily compared to Kate Bush. Beautifully composed and arranged, it’s an immersive, dreamlike record that has a rich and varied texture, but ultimately relies on Le May and her stunning voice for its poignant, evocative impact.”
– William Pinfold, A Motley Miscillany
Flight of the Sky Pilot Discoveries of the Year (2015):
Acts that I’ve only become aware of in the past 12 months, that have really stood out.
“#2 Louise Le May – A beautiful voice singing equally enthralling songs, Louise’s voice reminds me in places of Judy Dyble. This folky delight needs to be heard wider, I think.”
– John Simms
Pop Junkie’s Albums of the Year (2015):
“23 – Louise Le May – A Tale Untold – Pastoral folky pop from a very special songstress. This album, which has been a long time coming, has shades of Kate Bush on the beautiful Cassandra and Judee Sill and Judy Collins on the opener Broken Child, yet is delivered in a lovely, low key very English manner. Other stand outs include Be My Guru – reminiscent of the long lost Brighton band The Mummers – and Sink and Swim which novelist Jonathan Coe loves so much it inspired a chapter in his new-ish book Number 11.”
– Pop Junkie
L’Attimo Fuggente / Indie for Bunnies Review (IT):
“Louise Le May è una musicista inglese di grandissimo talento. Un talento unico e molto inglese, appunto. La sua musica, accompagnata dai sopraffini arrangiamenti dell’immenso artista francese Louis Philippe, è difficile da classificare, riflessiva e onirica al tempo stesso e la sua voce, naturale e leggera, ha una profondità e una forza espressiva sorprendenti. Louise ha pubblicato un EP in edizione limitata nel 2009 attirando recensioni entusiastiche e airplay da Guy Garvey, Tom Robinson e tanti altri, noi, naturalmente, compresi. Ci è voluto, poi, qualche tempo, grande dedizione e molta, molta ispirazione per arrivare a “A Tale Untold” il suo album d’esordio, che esce in questi giorni. Un lavoro che è valsa la pena aspettare. Un debutto tardivo, ma assolutamente soddisfacente. Arrangiato da Louis Philippe (e chi non lo conoscesse, farebbe meglio a informarsi e ad ascoltare i suoi album) e prodotto da Ken Brake e Louis Philippe stesso, e con un piccolo contributo da parte di Stuart Moxham dei Young Marble Giant, “A Tale Untold” è un album da ascoltare con calma e dedizione, al sicuro, mentre fuori scorrono sempre più frenetiche le immagini del mondo.”
– Francesco Amoroso
Progressive del Nuovo Millenio’s top 5 international albums 2015:
“Leggerezza ed intensità nella sua vocalità espressiva, Louise Le May è artista di grande talento, capace di far vibrare corde emotive pur nel minimalismo di questo suo folgorante debutto discografico full-length (ha al suo attivo un e.p. del 2009).
A Tale Untold, questo il titolo dell’album della musicista inglese, è un disco da seguire con attenzione per cogliere le rilevanti sfumature in esso contenuto.
Un impressionante debutto!”
Pop News (FR) VIP’s top albums of 2015:
“Louise le May – A Tale Untold. Une chanteuse anglaise à découvrir de toute urgence pour les fans de Kate Bush ou Judee Sill. Le French Londoner Louis Philippe est aux arrangements, et c’est très beau.”
– Jérôme Didelot (Orwell)
8.5/10 review in Ondarock (IT):
“…an album that restores music to its cultural centre…”
– Gianfranco Marmoro
Rockerilla Magazine (IT) Review and Interview:
8/10 review in Distortion (IT):
Resident Music Review:
“Stunningly beautiful debut album of ethereal folk from a unique and very English talent – Le May’s wonderful voice sits perfectly within luscious and sophisticated arrangements…”
– Resident Music
Music Won’t Save You (E) Review:
“Il contegno espressivo di Louise Le May fa infatti balenare immagini di teatri rifiniti da velluti e arredi d’epoca, eppure nelle sue canzoni non c’è davvero nulla di sovrabbondante, nessun orpello che ne alteri il contenuto ma solo rifiniture che ne esaltano la naturale bellezza.
Così, la grazia senza tempo dell’artista inglese rifulge in tutta la sua classe tanto in semplici ballate al pianoforte (“Furniture” e la title track di chiusura), quanto in frammenti dal distante retaggio folk (“Coal-Marble-Stone”) e persino quando si associa a cadenze ritmiche sbarazzine e sorprendenti (“Radium Smile”). L’essenza più pura di “A Tale Untold” risiede tuttavia nell’equilibrata associazione della delicatezza interpretativa della Le May a contesti orchestrali ariosi (“Broken Child”), vivaci (“Cassandra”), sognanti (“Photographic”) e profondamente romantici (“Thunderbird”).
È davvero un altro mondo quello delle canzoni di Louise Le May, un mondo tratteggiato da poche pennellate morbide ma decise, da contemplare come una tela d’autore la cui armoniosa bellezza prescinde dalla collocazione fisica o temporale ma che in “A Tale Untold” è, dopo lunga attesa, finalmente ora e qui.”
– Raffaello Russo
The Garden of Earthly Delights Albums of the Year:
Finally, some of you may not be aware but one track from the album Sink and Swim, was the inspiration for one of the stories in Jonathan Coe‘s latest book, No. 11: