Sound — 9
Singer-songwriter-pianist-violinist Lili Haydn is a talent that many others like Tom Petty, Hootie & The Blowfish, and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have used, but few have given her the opportunity to shine on her own. Her third solo album Place Between Places allows her to step into the frontlines and to speak without pretenses in her opinion. A figure of Brahms' ambient symphonies and Evanescence's glistening tremors, Lili Haydn brings these two worlds together on her new album. The blissful atmospherics of Memory One build into beautifully vibrating crescendos that fade like dust motes into the fabric. The twigs of orchestral tones are entrancing, and Haydn's vocals emote passion that penetrates immediately into the listener's skin leaving an indelible mark. Love pours out of the acoustic guitar strings in Saddest Sunset with a graceful stroking as the orchestral passageways give off haunting smoke-rings. Haydn dabbles in Arabic-textured strings with a piping of delicate chimes that sensually move through the steamy mists of the title track. Though the melodies are sparsely layered, they have a cinematic presence like the listener is going through a series of vignettes in a movie. The soul-jazz tendrils of I Give Up are reminiscent of the music featured during the love scenes of a James Bond flix, and the Gaelic-toned flutes of The Reverie have the lacy acoustics, zesty movements, and effeminate sweetness of music that has origins in another time. The whispery flutter of strings through Satellites is doused in slow simmering drumbeats, and the dulcet whining of the piano keys in Children Of Babylon are satchel to lush orchestral spirals which give the tune a mystical aura. The daydreamy ambience of Unfolding Grace has a fantasy-like imagery with soundscapes that twinkle gently and an ethereal pulse that is faint in the listener's ear. Haydn's voice has the hypnotic flare of Sarah Brightman and the megaphoned echo of Amy Lee as the dark hues of Anthem emit a glowing radiance, and the glittering icicle lights of piano keys strewn across Powers Of Five create a tranquil backdrop for Haydn's voice to show complete abandonment and reveal pure emotions. Haydn's playing and singing shows a level of sensitivity that offers audiences a renewed sense of excitement.
Lyrics — 9
Haydn's words are both autobiographical and observations about the world around her. In the song Memory One she sings as if her heart is in her mouth, Memory One / I'm calling you / Your number is there but it's hard to get through / But I miss you Memory One / It's been a few years / I thought that I cried all my tears / But I miss you / Memory One. She offers in Saddest Sunset some words of optimism, It's time to walk this road alone / And though the darkness has fallen / It can change in an instant / Cuz the light that you're longing for is your own. The dance-track Strawberry Street shows Haydn in a more jovial mood, I'm just walking down Strawberry Street / The afterglow of living sweet / Everything is just the way it should be / Love, love, love The Sun is shining on Strawberry Street / Don't really care what tomorrow will bring / There's a fire burning inside of me / Love, love, love I'm walking on air / Clouds at my feet / Feeling so good / Strawberry Street / Love, love, love on Strawberry Street.
Overall Impression — 9
Lili Haydn's new album Place Between Places is definitely one that makes you get in touch with your sensitive or feminine side. Her use of different textures from the cascades of steamy ambient passages and orchestral wavelets to Arabic-toned ruffles and bluesy-soul-jazz acoustics is bountiful and enhances the album's mystery. Though each track has Haydn's insignia on it, she shifts her direction from the weeping droplets and funeral-like piano keys of The Last Serenade to the energizing funk-pop romps along Strawberry Street. This is an album that Haydn sings as if each song is real to her, but she does not sing them as if they only apply to her. In the song Satellites, she ponders, Why are we colliding with each other? / It really hurts when we collide / Why the suffering? The songs are not always about her, but have a way of relating to other people's lives, and even offer some sound advice.