Urban Angel

Natalie Walker

Dorado Music, 2007

http://www.natalie-walker.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/18/2009

Natalie Walker’s sexy, luxuriously blasé take on folk music is more interesting on paper as an idea for folk reformation or rebellion than as the perfectly executed Urban Angel.

Walker scores high for possessing the requisites of a neo-folk artist. She is bold without being brash. Her music has an adorable yuppie charm. Most notably, she sounds earnest and genuine. And even though her lyrics are washed down with much more sophisticated agents than a just lonely acoustic guitar, they can be as comforting.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The laid-back, urban trip-hop style that Walker espouses gives a wonderful effect along with her breezy vocals, which are mellow but not stoic. A number like “No One Else” with only the slightest of musical touch shows the true gorgeousness of Walker’s vocal charisma. Also “Right Here,” even with its distinct stylistic resemblance to Tori Amos, has the intense captivating effect that Walker’s vocals have when they are at their best.

Walker’s blissful electronic-folk medley is cute. But unlike a lot of folk music that even in all their modesties has a life-altering appeal, Urban Angel proves little more than just pleasant ear-candy. The great promise that Walker shows in little pockets of the album unfortunately doesn’t stick around for its entirety. Too often she leaves the realm of the simplicity of folk music and tries experimenting with exciting ideas that turn out wearied. Her shot at trip-hop – “Faith,” “Red” – in the shadow of Massive Attack is too lethargic to be laidback. Her pursuit of pop music, “Rest Easy” and “Urban Angel,” is tired without any zing.

Ironically, it is the tracks with expansive production and greater urgency (album-openers “Crush” and “Quicksand”) that go against the grain of the rest of Urban Angel  that have any sort of lasting impact: Walker has a completely different (and totally electric) appeal when she is not so nonchalant.

This release is no testament to Walker’s immense talent. She doesn’t need to create a brilliant album to show how brilliant she herself is. But in case she does, that would be a pretty sweet deal.

Rating: C+

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© 2009 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Dorado Music, and is used for informational purposes only.