This is the debut album from the eponymous lead singer and songwriter and guitarist and composer Don Philippe, and it’s one of those truly beautiful creations that come along once in a blue moon. Laura’s clear deep voice and Philippe’s acoustic guitar connect on a level that’s so sublime it needs to be heard to be fully appreciated.
On the face of things they make quite a strange pair. Laura, still in her early twenties, grew up dancing Flamenco and experimenting with her first rock band, whilst Philippe is nearly half a generation older and has worked with some of Germany’s most celebrated hip-hop outfits. However, these seeming differences only serve to bring them closer together and cause them to gel convincingly. It’s also allowed them to produce something that neither could have done on their own, something beyond a sum of its parts.
The album opens with No Es Por Ser Ni Por Estar (Neither Being Here Nor There), which is Laura’s belated thank you note to her late mother. This quiet number, with its seamlessly interwoven string quarter, is guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of all but the most stone-hearted. It’s worth buying the album for in it’s own right. Title track Mi Libro Abierto (My Open Book) is a melodic masterpiece with Laura’s soaring vocals and heart-breaking strings.
Estate is a fantastic cover version, originally a worldwide hit for its composer Bruno Martino. The only other cover on the album is Sonhos, originally by Peninha, which starts off like a Bossa Nova standard but soon spins off into the world of Laura and Philippe. Everything else on the album is entirely their own work. Nana is a poignant lullaby of a track, and Ahora Te Veo M�s Cerca (Now I Can See You Closer) is a slow burner.
Every track on this album is exercise in perfection. There are no weak links, also-rans or filler here. Each song evokes that special place inside the soul that only genuinely great music can manage to reach, and is a work of art in its own right. All the tracks are entirely in Spanish, but that only enhances their overall beauty – it wouldn’t work in English. All in all, if you like your music slow and soulful, look out for Laura Lopez Castro.