Manchester-raised Josephine Oniyama is no stranger to us at Wears The Trousers, having contributed an emotional reading of ‘The Gallows Pole’ to our tribute compilation Beautiful Star: The Songs Of Odetta, and we’ve been waiting for a follow up to 2008′s engaging In The Labyrinth EP with eager ears. Now bidding to be known on first-name terms, Oniyama has been writing and performing since the age of fifteen, and counts everything from the West African high life her mother filled their home with to more homegrown heroes such as Morrissey and Marr – and, of course, Odetta – as influences. Celebrity fans include fellow Mancunian Guy Garvey and her studio collaborator Ed Harcourt, who describes Oniyama’s talent evocatively as “in equal measure as high as the heavens and as deep as the Mariana trench.”
Indeed, while this new release is not the full-length we’re still waiting for, as she proved with In The Labyrinth, Oniyama can display an epic talent in the most minimal amount of track space. Her smokey, honey-rich vocals ripple throughout the elegant, subtle rhythms of the hypnotic opener ‘I Think It Was Love’, while the intriguingly titled ‘One Princess Of Cheetham Hill’ charts a folktropic course full of wide-eyed, romantic adventure. Then, all too quickly, ‘One Song’ wraps things up, perfectly capturing her haunting, old-soul vocals in shiver-inducing, a cappella brilliance. More please. Soon.
[Ark Recordings; July 26, 2010]
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