E-Wah Lady - Lights and Sirens

E-wah Lady's ‘Lights and Sirens' is not an album for those afraid to leave the highway of mainstream music. I could tell this merely from the album cover, an almost cardboard-cut-out type picture of a sweetly smiling dwarf, juxtaposed against blue and white spirals, and held together with a sticker of a flower.


‘Lights and Sirens' is a pretty quiet album, with extended silences at the end and start of nearly every song, and most tracks featuring only the singer accompanying herself on guitar as she gently croons her poetic lyrics. Lullabies is the word that comes to mind to describe most of her the tunes on the 8-track (not including the completely silent ‘Prelude') album. As her voice meanders through different pathways, it is almost like she is singing out her thoughts rather than composing a song.


An inevitable comparison for those non-familiar with E-wah would be with Bjork, yet this gentle singer lacks all of Bjork's bounce and enthusiasm, the spark that, along with her amazing voice, has made her famous through much of the world. Instead, the dreamy E-wah Lady sounds to me much more similar to singers like Damien Rice, and perhaps Joni Mitchell, albeit less experimental. The highlight of the album is the drifting ‘(it's a) Lovely Night to be Alone'. With its gentle melodies paralleling the lyrics "Every fucker wants a piece of me, and saying no could get me into more trouble than saying yes", E-wah seems to be making an obvious statement about the direction of her music, and the pressures of the industry. The song draws you into it, and then when the deep bass drum comes into play near the end, you find yourself waking up and wondering where you've been.


Not a bad composition all up. It is not a collection of catchy tunes, and you probably won't find yourself singing along to any of the songs. ‘Lights and Sirens' is an album for listening to on rainy nights, when you want to think about things, to find deep meaning and comfort in a simple phrase and a shared thought. It would probably find more success with a little bit more energy, a bit more zing to complement the deep thoughts and ideas implanted in the songs, but it's not all about commercial success for E-wah. As indeed it shouldn't be.

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