Album Reviews

Tina Dico – Whispers

(Finest Grammophone) UK release date: 25 August 2014

Tina Dico - Whispers When we whisper, we do so to conceal secrets; to deliver sultry messages to lovers that no one else present can hear, or use hushed tones to prevent disturbance. Why Tina Dico‘s latest studio album has been given this name is not, at first, entirely obvious. It does not whisper, but creeps and broods in its darkness, and rather than shying away it confidently pronounces. However, what it does do is confide its secrets.

It feels at once like a very complete, mature piece of work that is also incredibly personal in the tales it tells. It explores the many shades of light and dark that accompany relationships, with love forming the foundations and focal point of this beautiful album.

These days, there are copious amounts of female singer-songwriter playing acoustic guitar based songs about love, but where Dico stands out most from the rest is in the depths of her exploration of darker themes and imagery in her songs. Take Drifting, for example, which handles  honestly the pain caused by an increasingly unhappy relationship. The  emotion swells in her voice as she utters “I’m drifting too far, too far from the shore” with the increasing distance growing and emanating through the soaring strings.

The album’s title track further enhances the sense of honesty and darkness Dico conjures up in her tales. Driven along by its low, brooding riff and tribal handclaps, it retains a haunting quality as she declares “Now I’m a chapter in the sad little book that you keep by your bed” and seems to revel in her position as an unforgettable ghost from the past. The bitterness and accusatory tone that comes through is an example of Dico’s songwriting at its strongest.

Yet, the standout track comes in the form of the pounding tension of As Far As Love Goes, a song ridden with Leonard Cohen-sequel undertones. Both poetically striking and masterful as well as melodically lust-fuelled with Dico’s strong vocals, it stands tall in its power to express strong emotions.

The Danish singer-songwriter has composed an album that cements her further as a talented individual able to effectively conjure up different emotions, and creates the image of a strong independent female figure, wise, and somewhat weary from the trials and tribulations of love. Mines in particular emanates this wise stance: “It stings, yes it hurts… To say I loved you.” Regret and longing simmer their way through the rising chromatic sequences and engender a strong sense of sympathy. These are the moments of Dico’s whispered confessions and they are worth listening in to.

Some tracks leave less poignant emotional marks, such as Someone You Love and Old Friends, yet they still retain a certain beauty in their delivery, even if they lack the same punch. Their lightness doesn’t match up to the darkness of the other songs, and although you appreciate their prettiness, they leave you feeling dissatisfied.

The album is brought to a close by Thank You, a track that is at once a love song to a deserving lover and a passing last note to the listener to thank them for listening through to the end of the collection. It is a polite closing to an album that should bring Tina Dico out into the limelight, as her wisdom and mature songwriting still astound. Even though this is her ninth album, she still sounds fresh.

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