[Album Review] Jenny Berkel- Pale Moon Kid
Reader Rating: (5 Votes)


Release Date: April 15th, 2016
Label: Pheromone Recordings

Jenny Berkel is one of those intimate folk singers who can make melancholic songs an uplifting experience for the listener. It’s partly the wonderful tone to her mellifluous voice, but it is also the fact that when she translates bittersweet feelings into music there is beautiful transformation and our ears are the lucky beneficiary.

Not that ‘Pale Moon Kid’ is all about sadness – some of the songs are in fact quite upbeat – but there is a dark undercurrent throughout, which fortunately prevents these gentle tunes from ever getting too quaint. Even on prettier songs like the country-tinged “Lilac, Lily” Berkel retains something of an edge – a reminder, perhaps, that these are the grown-up versions of the folk tales we once heard. The enigmatic “Tall Tales” goes even further, with an eeriness emanating from both the tremolo guitar and the peculiar harmonies.

More than anything Berkel impresses with the ability to perform equally well with or without accompaniment. The up-tempo “I Wrote a Disguise (For You)” boasts a full arrangement with shuffling drums, bass and reverberating guitar, whereas “Half Dream” is very sparse, stripped down to virtually nothing but Berkel’s crystal-clear vocals.

Drawing upon folk singer traditions of the ‘60s and ‘70s and well as contemporary indie styles, Berkel takes us on a very personal journey as she relates tales of her physical wanderings and philosophical musings. In presenting such a complete singer-songwriter package she draws favourable comparisons to (dare I say it?) the great Joni Mitchell herself.