• Rebecca Miller
  • Alessi’s Ark

On Tuesday night London’s Alessi’s Ark performs at SPACE in Evanston, opening for Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers fame, and this feels like the second consecutive visit by Alessi Laurent-Marke where I’ve kind of been asleep at the wheel. Like her debut, her recently released second album The Still Life (Bella Union) has crept up on me—I skimmed through it when I first got it, but I failed to really give it a thorough listen until the other day, and now it’s working its way into my brain. The whimsical pop-rock Laurent-Marke creates is quiet, gentle, and a bit somnambulant—which prevents it from making an instant impression—but after a couple spins her wispy, lispy voice has charmed me.

Her melodies are sweetly insinuating and while it would be nice if she added some uptempo rhythms into the ballads and mid-tempo nuggets, I can’t say that I mind too much. The pretty tracks that percolate behind her singing are mostly acoustic, with guitar arpeggios complemented by fleeting washes of kalimba, strings, organ, and more generous heapings of harmony vocals. I haven’t listened to The Still Life enough to say if it has staying power, but I’m expecting to find out soon. Below you can check out “The Rain.”