The Pirate’s Gospel
Alela Diane might be giving Joanna Newsom a run for her money as the reigning native chanteuse of Nevada City. Diane, a sort of Newsom protégé, writes serious neo-folk ditties that aren’t quite so epic. Her approach to pop-song craft isn’t unlike what you hear on old Cat Power records—though instead of playing the troubled, solitary troubadour, Diane is bolstered by a chorus, chiming in with some delicious (though not at all cheesy) “yo-ho-hos” on the title track. Mostly driven by acoustic guitar and piano, the album never quite reaches outright transcendence, but does manage a reverent eeriness, especially when Diane is joined by the “choir of little children” she sings about. One gets the impression of something slightly spooky going on. There is such a thing as a holy ghost, after all.