CD Review: Karen Elson

Karen Elson
The Ghost Who Walks
Third Man
By David Chiu

The track record of celebrities who decide to make an album is kind of spotty—Paris Hilton’s attempt at a singing career comes to mind. Brit Karen Elson, however, is a totally different exception. Known previously as a major fashion model, Elson turns in an exquisite, haunting collection of tunes drawing from old-timey American Southern/Gothic folk rock It certainly helps that her producer for The Ghost Who Walks is husband Jack White, but the true talent lies in Elson. Her understated lovely and soulful vocals project both the confidence of a seasoned pro and the influence of artists such as PJ Harvey and Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval whom she cited in her press bio. The songs’ styles and tone are varied–the loungey, trippy “Pretty Babies”; the exquisite country ballad “Lunasa”; the cabaret vibe of “100 Years From Now,” the country standout “Cruel Summer;” and a gentle twangy love song “The Last Laugh”—and the lyrics are very impressionistic and evocative. If this was something done by any other celeb who thinks that making a record would be “cool,” it would be seen as another lame vanity project. The Ghost Who Walks is certainly not that, but the emergence of a genuine, serious artist.

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