Review | Songlines

In Our Voices

Top of the World

Rating: ★★★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details

Artist/band:

Moira Smiley

Label:

Moira Smiley Music

June/2021

Sing out, people. Raise your voices. Raise them in harmony with others. Sing out in the spirit of dissent and in support of justice for all. That's the message sonorously articulated by Moira Smiley and VOCO, her five-person choral combat squad on In Our Voices. Applying minimal instrumental accompaniment and maximal vocal expression, Smiley explores a multitude of themes related to her cause on the album's dozen tracks. Riding a slow blues tempo, ‘How Can I Cry’ confronts white privilege in no uncertain terms: ‘And how can I cry about freedom/When I've lived a whole life of liberty?’ In ‘Days of War’, backed by Sam Amidon, Seamus Egan and Caleb Bronze, Smiley offers art, music and singing as a means of communication in the worst of times. ‘The Call’ couples electronic effects with the human beatbox in support of bass vocalist Gregory Fletcher's cautionary rumination. ‘Wiseman’ exalts love as heavenly respite.

As rendered by Dawn Pemberton (Canada's ‘Queen of Soul’), the old minstrel standard ‘Oh Susannah’ ain't what it used to be. ‘Bellow’, the album's anthemic closing track, spurs the listener ‘to lift the veil between the worlds by singing.’ Smiley, to be sure, is doing her part.

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