Pumajaw aka Pinkie Maclure & John Wills
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Pumajaw aka Pinkie Maclure & John Wills
Becoming Pumajaw

The latest album by Pinkie Maclure and John Wills straddles the old and new UK folk-rock movements. The band refer to their sound as 'folkadelica.' Maclure is blessed with a deeply resonant voice, as dark as the underside of a leaf; she can hold her own against other mistresses of duskiness such as Sandy Denny, June Tabor, or Christine Collister. However, Maclure utilizes her voice differently, wielding her voice as another instrument in the precious mix, swooping when you least expect her to, crying out at unexpected times, repeating lyrics in a loop as if she were possessed. Yet none of these vocal acrobatics push Maclure beyond her range or into discordance; she is assured, and deeply shamanic.

Wills' contributions are sympathetic to Maclure's voice and they create open and spare music with magical shadows. Wills' guitar playing is never flashy, but he can provide a good freakout, as on the traditional "The Holly King" where lovely acoustic strumming gives way to some pure electric psychedelia. Pumajaw excel in highlighting the drone of their tunes, evident on their perfect version of "Rosemary Lane." In itself, the trance-like aura that pervades Becoming Pumajaw makes listening a hypnotic experience.

Lyrically, Pumajaw are fascinating. The last track, "Outside It Blows," is the most darkly experimental song on the album. It sounds like a fleeting memory: Maclure's voice whisks around, occasionally looped in the background, while Wills' strings make you feel as if you're descending into a well. "Outside it blows/How many like us in the world?/How many worlds without wires?/The dawn is such/ A fickle fiend/With its deadly devices/It's such a cruel world that hypnotizes us." Whew! Becoming Pumajaw's songs are like so many gems strung together.

For all of the haunting skill shown on Becoming Pumajaw, Wills and Maclure do not come off as showboating grandstanders. This is remarkably ego-less music, the very blood and guts of emotion; human and true to the psychedelic spirit. Becoming Pumajaw is one of my favorite records of the year thus far. - Lee Blackstone Listen

Band web site: www.pinkiemaclure.co.uk

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