Something Secret

By Ken Hunt, Jazzwise

If you were to use album releases to measure Carol Grimes’ musical development and progress you would soon lose the plot. Her last album Mother (reviewed in Jazzwise 84) found her interpreting and interpolating notables such as Nick Cave, Sandy Denny, Shane McGowan, Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits. In the meanwhile she has continued singing with The Shout – a choir of standing with experimental vocal values – and made high-profile appearances at the Proms, in Trafalgar Square and on Soul Britannia.

Something Secret is yet another unexpected departure. She and co-author Giles Perring, an affiliate of The Shout since their earliest yell, have created a succession of musical environments or imaginative musical gardens in which hybrid forms flourish and complement each other. Their jointly written Sparrow incorporates rippling piano, cheekily referential lyrics (samples: ‘I’m on my own Desolation Row’ and ‘Are you the ghost with the most/My host for the night?’), the skirl of the pipes and hand drums. Highlights include the intricate opening tack Skinside Out, the slowly unfolding Earth Poem and the low-moan Seven Days (maybe the only bluesy shanty with a jaunty whistling part integrated and ready to re-surface).

Reviewing Something Secret’ from a ‘white label’ all I can say is that the urge to review this here glory utterly overcame thoughts of waiting for the finished product. One of those can’t-wait-to-scream-the-news events.