Musings on Lisa Cuthbert’s ‘Paramour’




Genre: ??? Some form of beautiful alternative thing
I seriously don’t know how I’ve manged not to review this CD yet. In fact, I’m sure I’ve started to write a review twice and never posted it! Anyway, with my recent splurge of Castlefest CD reviewing, I think it’s time to have a focus on Paramour (even if I didn’t get it this Castlefest!)
Paramour is a concept album centred around the Magdalene Asylums, of Laundries, which were institutions for the reform of whoever were considered to be fallen women. In reality, ‘reform’ is an optimistic outlook and ‘fallen women’ spanned a whole bunch of categories… basically anyone who could have been a threat to the ‘morality’ of society. Anyway, I’m going off on a tangent about a subject I have only read a little about but it’s worth researching, if only so that some of the horrors committed in the name of morality are not forgotten.
Right, back to music.
The songs within Paramour are all from the points of view of those affected by the Magdalene Laundries, not just the women themselves but the people connected to them. In that sense it  covers the broader contest of a social institution that will have touched many people’s lives in different, if unforgettable, ways.
The lyrics themselves, the words that have been assigned to the people within the album, are really well written. Without falling into an overly narrative voice, Lisa focuses on the human emotions that we can all associate with. 
And it’s emotion that she does so well. Her vocals, while musically beautiful, are most striking for the raw connection they make with the content. This is not someone who is just singing a song but someone who is truly communicating an idea and it is quite wonderful. Combined with effective instrument arrangements, the tunes are generally affecting, if all quite different in actual sound.
Choosing a couple of songs to focus on at this point is nigh on impossible. I know that my personal favourite is ‘Garten Mother’s Lullaby’, a moment of gentleness, and I would certainly recommend that you listen to that one! As for the others, I cannot pick a track that stands out as ‘better’ which is a compliment, I think. ‘Madame’s Secret Pain’ is playing as I write this sentence so, if you’re unable to pick which one to listen to, go for that one 😉
Writing this review, I suddenly remembered why I’ve scrapped previous review’s of this album. The eloquence and beauty of the thing is made clunky by any explanation. So, forget my thoughts on it and go listen for yourself, after all as you can preview the album on bandcamp for free you have nothing to lose and, potentially, a lot to gain! 
If you want to find out more about Lisa Cuthbert you can visit her website or facebook. Paramour can be previewed and purchased on bandcamp and you can read the lyrics in a PDF from her website. 
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