Beautiful Mess, Vol. 1 – Gilli Moon (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Even though she has 7 albums under her belt, the result of two decades in the music business, Gilli Moon shows no sign of slowing down. And whilst Beautiful Mess fits neatly into the pop category, it is also so much more than that. This new album talks of the contradictions and the complexities which make us all who we are, the different hats we wear and the various roles we play and the wonderfully eclectic nature of the album reflects this brilliantly. The result is a collection of songs which wander in style and sound, influence and inspiration but an album which sounds like nothing other than a complete, consistent and well-rounded whole.

If pop is perhaps an obvious point of departure for the album, the more you play it, the deeper you delve into it, the more you realise how limiting such a label is. Beautiful Mess wanders between the swinging, sassy soul of Chuck E’s in Love to the modern upgrade on the 90’s diva pop of Intangible, from the country-rock grooves of I Can Feel to the lush and languid ambience of Refreshed.

The songs never fail to deliver, none ever feel like they are included to make the numbers up but it is Gilli Moon herself which remains the focal point. Her voice is outstanding, able to whisper intimately in the listener’s ear as easy as it can shout from the rooftops, but let’s just take that as a given, I mean, it’s obvious from the first few bars. The real charm is her chameleon-like changeability, her ability to morph into a foot-on-the-monitor rocker or a cocktail ba,r soul queen as easily as she can a perfectly poised popster or a chilled dance diva. And to do all of that and still sound quintessentially Gilli Moon is a wonderful thing to behold.

Many artists this far down the road might be forgiven for falling into a signature sound, for giving their fans and followers what they expect, for playing it commercially safe and musically secure. Gilli Moon is following a path which seems to be quite the opposite, a path which wanders through pastures new and heads out towards places as yet undiscovered.

Why look to the past when you can embrace what is around the next corner? Why allow people to stick a label on you when you can reveal a new side to yourself with every song? Why indeed?

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