The Orange Glow opens with the immense tune ‘Washington Moon’. “I want a California sun and a Washington Moon in the same room, at the same time.” Sings Elizabeth Le Fey aka Globelamp. Her dulcet voice full of wonder at these heavenly spheres and innocence abounds. Layers of vocals remind you of the layered visuals of an acid trip. There’s a Sixties style production adding to the overall psychedelic wonderland effect. It keeps it simple however, with the perfect percussion provided by sparse staccato tambourine icing on this beautiful sundrenched, moon worshipping cake.
Next up is ‘Controversial / Confrontational’ and the drumming here takes my breath away, it is epic and cavenous. The tone of the song is a smorgasboard of flutes, interwoven with guitars and more drums and le Fey’s etherial voice commanding the song. When she sings “If I could change all the wishes on a genies lamp to have you back.” it makes me shed an actual tear, because I too lost my best friend and it’s a grief that knows no end.
On ‘The Negative’ there’s a change of pace “la la la la” she sings as if she has her fingers in her ears, blocking out the negative as she sees it. The song winds up slowly and dramatically, then winds back down again, back and forth, up and down. I’m astounded at the depth to Globelamp’s songs. Their apparent simplicity, their layers and dimensions, both sonically and philosophically with the lyrics. . “You can’t control what you don’t understand / The Mystery will always have the upper hand” The imagery lulls you to a state of childlike wonder like a fascinating bedtime story, depicting landscapes and moons, birds and nature.
‘Moon Proof’ is beautiful, full of unexpected chord progressions and romantic notions. Elizabeth’s vocal range is clearly extensive. Her rich low tones shine here, contrasting with her innately sweet vocal style of her higher pitched angelic sounding phrases.
The next song is a definite highlight from the Orange Glow. ‘Artist / Traveller’ is already a favourite of mine. It conjours up imagery of a Sixties San Fransisco romanticism of Joni Mitchel and Carol King. But it’s thoroughly modern, the story takes place now in Globelamp’s world. It’s not really nostalgic. Pianos chime in confidently, creating the pace. The hook “If you’re an artist or a traveller with tapestries” is just divinely satisfying to hear. I want it on repeat. But I want to hear the rest of the story first. And then you realise that here too le Fey is dealing with the grief of losing her best friend. “If you go north tell them I brought her ashes to the sea / And that I always have them right next to me.” It gives me goosebumps.
‘Don’t Go Walking Alone In The Woods Alone At Night’ is how Syd Barratt would sound if he had been a female singer songwriter from Washington state.
Rainbow beaded curtains jangling in the breeze as the sun reflects off them is how title track ‘The Orange Glow’ sounds to me. I must have seen this in one of Globelamp’s videos. The vocals are lush and angelic daydreamy, coming to a crecendo with the piano’s sustain pedal.
At times on The Orange Glow Globelamp’s progressions are unexpected and totally inspired. The sounds meander and wind and travel, in pace- around sonic corners, emerging into the light. The pure satisfaction when the hook kicks in on ‘Invisible Prisms’ before it ebbs away again. Not many people can do this to such effect. For music to hold your attention in this way without getting boring or without losing it’s shape and catchiness is surely down to a talent rarely seen.
‘Master Of Lonely’ is by far my favourite song on this record with beautiful lyrics like: “The wonderful colours of loving you have all turned to grey.” In fact, I first heard it on Peter Darrington’s Rumble Show on Radio Andra the night they played my record on the air for the first time. The part where she sings “I know what you’ve done / It doesn’t matter what you tell / Anyone anyone anyone” had me googling the lyrics. This wasn’t my first introduction to Globelamp (I discovered her on YouTube due to one of my fans), but it was the first time I got hooked. “And I’m on the side getting laughed at / While you’re driving fast / Trying not to look back.” I wonder if this is about her now infamous ex-boyfriend from Foxygen. It’s the wisdom of hindsight in a song. I sing along.
‘Piece Of The Pie’ reminds me of Sergent Pepper’s Beatles with the big band intro, but only with added witchiness, descending into Progginess by the outro. I don’t think I’m doing justice to the quality of the storytelling going on on this record. Only repeated listens can do that. And I recommend you make this record your best friend for a while.
Elizabeth le Fey’s voice is unique, spanning Sixties hippie queens, grungy rawness, angelic softeness and sweetness, innocence and venom. Surrounded in a halo of reverb and echo it’s my favourite kind of singing.
Album closer ‘Faerie Queen’ is another highlight. “Do I often visit your dreams? / Things are rarely the way that they seem.” I love how Globelamp mixes in imagery of nature with her harmonies and soundscapes, injecting unexpected hooks into the centre of her songs, keeping them catchy but not in any recognisable way compared to the now dull predictability of other artists.
The Orange Glow – Globelamp (Wichita) is out now digitally and on vinyl from Amazon.
Hannah Golightly is a riot grrrl musician, singer, guitarist and drummer from the UK. She has been a music critic and rock writer for six years and has previously written for collapseboard.com, godisinthetvzine.co.uk, mother's pride zine and vulturehound.com. She has a passion for guitars and amps and owns a lot of them! She is passionate about promoting and helping grrrls and women play guitar and form bands. She loves female rock musicians's music and he favourite band is Skating Polly.