"Fisherman's Woman" is Emiliana Torrini's first album in six years, but the Icelandic Italian British singer didn't entirely disappear in the interim.
Her ethereal voice was enlisted for "The Lord of the Rings" soundtrack, as well as "The Richest Man in Babylon," the 2002 album by Washington's Thievery Corporation. The latter connection might seem logical, since Torrini's debut mixed organic and synthetic sounds much as the Corporation does. But most electronics have been banished from the intimate "Fisherman's Woman," which relies primarily on rippling guitar and Torrini's breathy soprano.
The sound isn't assertive, but it suits these songs, many of which explore the theme suggested by the title track: separation from a lover. "Without you here the seasons pass me by," Torrini sighs in "Today Has Been OK." The singer wrote most of these lyrics and collaborated on the melodies, although the disc includes covers of songs by Smog's Bill Callahan and the late English folk-rocker Sandy Denny, both of which fit the album's mood. While the closing "Serenade" features multi-tracked vocals and a slightly bigger melody, the music's disposition never shifts dramatically. This isn't an album for all moments, but one crafted explicitly for periods of quiet aloneness.
-- Mark Jenkins
Appearing Tuesday at Iota with David Kitt.