Allison Russell’s album Outside Child is in fact a debut. But the singer songwriter is already quite established in the North American music scene, especially in the folk-Americana area. The album will be released on 21st May 2021.
Allison Russell – About The Artist
Allison Russell is a Canadian artist from Montreal. She first became known for being part of the folk-Americana duo Birds of Chicago, in which she is active since 2012. Her band partner in the duo is JI Nero, her husband. They released two albums and an EP, but announced and indefinite hiatus early this year. Their biggest success, likely, was the 2017 single American Flowers, which has been named as the 19th best single of the year in the Slant Magazine.
Allison Russell – Outside Child – Track by Track
The eleven track album takes 49 minutes.
The album came with a really nice press kit to me – and for this opener, the best this is just to quote what Allison Russell herself says about the song: I give thanks for my wondrous hometown of Montreal. I was a teenage runaway – I believe in many ways the City herself protected me. I wandered the Mountain at all hours and slept in the graveyard in the summertime. I haunted the Cathedrals and slept in the pews. A really nice starting track into this debut, which also comes with some Quebecois / French lyrics.
After the thoughtful beginning, Nightflyer is more rhythmic and also comes with a touch of soul. A nice five minute track, which I enjoy as background melody as well as listening actively and enjoying the story.
Yeah I’m a midnight rider
Stone bonafide night flyer
I’m an angel of the morning too
The promise that the dawn will bring you
This song has been inspired by Russell’s first love. The song is a nice melodic listen with a touch of folk music. Lovely vocal performance in here, which gives a really nice touch to the song. I love the lyrics of that song as well.
Tap tap tappin’ on your window screen
Gotta let me in Persephone
Got nowhere to go but I had to get away from him
My petals are bruised but I’m still a flower
Come runnin to you in the violet hour
Put your skinny arms around me, let me taste your skin
4. 4th Day Prayer
The 4th Day Prayer again has a very different touch and style. There is a touch of soul, even a touch of gospel song in this track. I like the vibe and the structure of the song, which feels like a nice dramatic plot.
5. The Runner
In this song, Allison Russell sees herself as The Runner. Again, it is worth to have a look into the supplementary information of the album: I left home at 15, I managed to finish high school, start my first year at Dawson College- I worked terrible telemarketing jobs… My adoptive father continued to stalk and harass me around the city. When I was 17, I ran farther – across the country- from Montreal, QC to Vancouver, BC. I was deeply despairing, suicidal, self-harming – and then music saved me. The song is powerful, feels angry, threatened. It comes with a touch of rock music. Thus, I feel it is a great atmospheric fit – and one of my favorites on the album.
This song is not taking you to South America, but to a mysterious island which appears in some ancient Irish maps – and in some myths and legends of that culture. Somewhere WEst of Iceland, Hy-Brasil is somehow similar to Atlantis and is thought to appear just very rarely. The other days, it is hidden in the fog and the clouds. A song, which is a reference to the artist’s ancestors. The song comes with a touch of folk and a shanty-alike rhythm. Nice one. Over 5:30 minutes and thus the longest track on the album, by the way.
7. The Hunters
Oh Papa Oh Mama
It is of you I am afraid
The hunter and the hunter’s bride
Your teeth as sharp as razor blades
Another very deep, autobiographic track. It deals with the abuses Russell had to bear during her childhood and is directly addressed to her torturer and his wife – her mother. Another song, which is moving between English and French lyrics. Very impressive.
8. All Of The Women
Allison Russell truly has a fascinating (but also: shocking) bio. This song deals about the experience she made in a job she did for seven years in East Vancouver. She worked in social care jobs, in which she met women with similar experience of violence and abuse. All Of The Women is reminding of these people. The song feels wailing, crying. Just done on point.
9. Poison Arrow
The song is coming with a nice rhythmic, is a nice folk-alike ballad. A song about being afraid of going back to Quebec – until Russell final became a mother herself.
10. Little Rebirth
Who have you been
Who will you be
Who are you now
What can you hear, what can you see?
A very emotional moment of the album, in which Russell reminds of a passed away beloved person. Very minimalist song, which still has a lot of atmosphere.
11. Joyful Motherfuckers
The album closes with a song written for her husband. Even though the title might feel differently, the song is full of love and admiration. She is also joined by a male singer in this track – I guess it is her husband, JT Nero. Lovely finish.
Allison Russell – Outside Child – Spotify
Here is the Outside Child album on Spotify:
Allison Russell – Outside Child – My View
At first sight, I did not get into the album too well, I have to admit. The more I listened more deeply to the song, the more the lyrics inspired me and the more I saw how beautifully the melodies fit to the stories, the more I loved to listen to the stories of the Outside Child. Some albums just don’t get that amount of time from my side when I review it. Allison Russell’s recording go it – and made use of it. Lovely album!
Canadian Media/Music Reviews