Natalie Merchant


Leave Your Sleep Nonesuch*****

The Dead Poets’ Societyis in full cry these days. While Mike Scott’s Yeatsian project has grabbed the first headlines, Natalie Merchant’s more eclectic collection is no less impressive. The project’s long gestation (five years by her reckoning) has delivered something special in both the abridged single album and the double album. Merchant has set 26 poems from disparate eras and poets, all dead with the exception of Jack Prelutsky, to a range of musical settings that tick many world music and roots boxes. The selection of texts was inspired by Merchant’s seven- year-old daughter, so there are lullabies and nonsense rhymes aplenty. But fear not: although she can often hint at a precious and pretentious streak, her marriage of music and texts short- changes neither, while

the vibrant and imaginative arrangements underpin Merchant’s sensitive and utterly beguiling voice. See natalie

Download tracks: Bleezer’s Ice-Cream, If No One Ever Marries Me, The Janitor’s Boy