After finding and thoroughly enjoying this artist's first album "All Rise", I went in search of more of her music and found "An Invitation". At first, I wasn't sure exactly what to make of the intriguing, but rather strange sample clips, but I figured I'd keep returning for another listen out of sheer curiosity if nothing else, so I made the purchase.
I'm so glad my curiosity got the best of me in this case - it has been months now and I've listened to this album so many times, but it still sounds as startling and fresh as the first time. "An Invitation" is a challenging and intellectual collection of flitting strings, sneaky bursts of woodwinds, and twirling, counter-intuitive melodies. The instrumental arrangements are demanding and are as much of a "voice" as the beautiful vocals, forming more of a duet than a backdrop.
This album is evocative and theatrical. Like some of my other favorite albums, it is one of those pieces of music that become almost multisensory the more attention you turn toward it, inspiring both images and sensations. Visions of a dramatically-lit concert hall or a black and white film rolling along on stage in a gilded theater tend to spring to mind when I listen to this music. There's a quality of nostalgia here, a jazzy feeling that reminds me vaguely of the 30's and 40's music my grandfather loves (incidentally, he likes this album too, since I introduced him to it!).
It is easy for me to rave about this album, but at the same time, it's not one I'd easily recommend - "An Invitation" is such a strong flavor and will not appeal to everyone. It is pretty obstinate about not fading into the background, a real show-stealer. If you find yourself intrigued, fascinated, or curious after listening to the samples a few times, give it a try and you might find a new favorite! If you are looking for more of her first album, you might be a bit disappointed by this one, unless you really enjoyed the jazzier moments of "All Rise".