Skip to main content

Krista Detor


"Effortless Sublimity"

Friday, January 24, 2014

by Mike Wilson

Krista Detor, Flat Earth Diary (Tightrope Records, 2014)


If there were such a thing as the queen of songwriting, then as far as I’m concerned the throne would most surely be reserved for Krista Detor. Some four years after her last album release, 2010’s Chocolate Paper Suites, Krista returns with a collection that exudes class in almost every conceivable manner.

I’ve passed many an hour trying to sum up the essence of Krista’s art, and have recently settled with this: Krista’s writing and performance heightens all the senses, creating a world that is surreal and yet absolutely visceral; her lyrics evoke imagery, feelings and experiences that add up to much more than the sum of the words she so beautifully weaves. Whilst many might sit drowning in the confusion of their own emotions, Krista is somehow able to give them words; she finds a focus on minutiae detail that somehow draws the mind to a much wider, deeper picture, and leaves the listener pondering in awestruck wonder. She is also more than capable of casting a wry eye over the whole lot. But, this is supposed to be a review, not a love letter…

If the songs here are presented as gifts to the listener, then they certainly don’t come wrapped up in plain brown-paper packages. Part of the allure of Flat Earth Diary is the palette of sound and texture that fuses together to seduce the listener, with Krista’s sensual vocals at the centre of it all. The album is produced to perfection by David Weber, a man who obviously knows how to select the right ingredients, and exactly how to blend them for best effect. Flat Earth Diary is largely a piano-led affair, with occasional sumptuous strings to enhance the elegance, and some groovy guitar and bass exploits to add some joie de vivre.

Unhurried, meandering tracks provide moments of effortless sublimity. ‘Just Because’ waltzes the listener through a winter day, where the melting snow yields to the gentle warmth of winter sunshine, and you can almost feel the temperature change as the song travels forth. An eerie mysteriousness pervades throughout ‘Marietta’, yet there is a homely calmness about the chorus that proves utterly irresistible. There are jaded moments too, with ‘Bridges’ pondering the burning of said metaphor, rather than possessing any reconciliatory connotations.

The album also contains the best running away song ever with ‘Hear That’, firmly showing the middle finger to a weary life, and containing a line that bears perfect witness to domestic drudgery: “Hear that? The bottle of half-drunken wishes, tossed into a full sink of dishes, and pouring away like a river…”

When Krista picks up the pace there is a carnival-like atmosphere that descends, inducing a heady concoction of fantasy and surrealism, rendered in glorious technicolour with vivd lyrics and emphatic vocals. ‘Belle Of The Ball’ is notable, not just for Victor Wooten’s mind-boggling bass gymnastics, but for the swirling fairytale chutzpah that makes for four minutes of solid fun. ‘Red Velvet Box’ is shamelessly flirtatious and brimming with jazzy insouciance, whilst the title track offers a freewheeling, folky incitement to open your heart and mind to a world of endless possibilities.

So, take a trip to the flat earth- I highly recommend it; the view is mesmerising.

#albumreview #Krista Detor