Mute is an extraordinary label I can't help falling in love with again and again.
After spending my youth dancing to the sounds of Depeche Mode or Fad Gadget, after questioning Daniel Miller's sanity when he signed Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds on a label previously only dedicated to the Love of Synths (and soon realizing he was right, of course), after seeing Mute fall into the arms of EMI but successfully bouncing back to independence again, this exoskeletal ear and heart of Daniel has recently seen new crops emerging and these are true discoveries and brilliant artists. And, once again, Mute cuts all codes by signing amazing people who make amazing music you wouldn't think could fit in with Mute because they don't correspond to the old electronic label image. But they do because... they are extraordinary artists on an extraordinary label.
Beth Jean Houghton is "just" that.
She started playing guitar relatively late, around 16, and her first musical offerings were very folk indeed and somehow that tag follows her, but the latest album from Beth Jeans Houghton And The Hooves Of Destiny “Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose" is definitely not folk, nor innocent or naive. Admirably produced by Ben Hiller, it displays a maturity and vision that very few musicians in their early twenties could only dream of.
The sound is large, definitely cinematic, but in a pop way rather than an Arcadian Fire way: songs are warm and short, arrangements are original and take you by surprise while the instrumentation has you traveling from climax to climax : rolling drums, Nigerian high-life guitar, thumping bass, catchy trumpets...And on top of that a voice that will smoothly suck you in only to better spit you out: we're a long way from a timid young folk singer strumming a guitar, this is a trip into someone's mind and this is intense and powerful. Beth Jeans Houghton declares she used to write poetry, but don't expect many tranquil sunsets and rose petals: words can cut and here, they often do.
Mute. What else ?
Beth Jeans Houghton on Mute: http://mute.com/artists/beth-jeans-houghton
Her album "“Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose": http://bethjeanshoughton.sandbag.uk.com/Store/DisplayItems.html
Her forthcoming single, Atlas, will be released April 22nd.