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"Emerging in the Abstract" -  zoe spencer
By Nilda Velez
Some albums are made to be the soundtrack
for Saturday nights in dark lounges with
strong drinks.  Some albums are so
consistently smooth and dulcet, they can play
repeatedly and seamlessly become another
voice in the crowd.  The poetic soul singer Zoe
Spencer managed just that on her sophomore
project, Embracing in the Abstract.
The 12 track album begins with a short, funky instrumental track that
sets the mellow mood of the LP.  It ends similarly, leaving the listener
feeling light.  The intro and outro, appropriately titled "
Pre-Nude" and
"Post-Nude", speaks to the completeness of her effort.  

On '
Come 2 M'e, the most melodic, quintessential soul song on the
album, Zoe gently seduces her lover into her embrace over soft
percussion that forces your head to sway.  She urges him in the first
note of the song by speaking, “It’s good to me.”  It, by the writing in
this romantic track, can be everything from love to sex to true
intellectual intimacy.  She sings, “Now I pay close attention to how
you play / Like a guitar / That’s made in Spain / In the finest tune /
You moan my name / You stroke my keys / Like melodies igniting my
flame.”

Over a simple baseline, Zoe scolds herself for becoming entangled
with the wrong man on
"Told Me So".  She smartly rearranges the
words of a cliché to point the proverbial finger at herself.  And we’ve
all been there.  She bemoans, “My heart began to break / My tears
began to fall / My soul began to ache / So I got up slowly / So as not
to faint / I didn’t look back at you / As I walked away / I hate to say /
I told me so.”  The writing materializes the shared downside of love,
but, inexplicably, there’s an unnecessary spoken verse in Spanish at
the end.

The crisp, clean quality of her voice is best heard on I Wonder, a
straight ballad where only keys accompany her sugary voice.  This
track is in direct contrast to
"Magik Carpet", a grainy song enhanced
by the crackles of a vinyl record.  She allows her voice to get more
exaggerated here and it works.  

This project is solid and perfect for vibing to on lazy summer nights.  
Zoe Spencer is worth listening to.  The songs are actually small
stories, so keep an ear to the speaker, for you might miss the
nuances of her subdued delivery.  Like on "
Crazy Love".  She makes
direct reference to the mesmeric motions of loving making.  She sings,
“My legs around your shoulders / Your hands are on my hips / I’m
waiting on you, lover / To gently kiss my lips / That thing you do so
well / You giving me the going down / You give me crazy love.”  Not
so subtle, but in a musical world of allegories and allusions, we can
appreciate the directness.  

More information about Zoe Spencer can be found at her website:
www.zoespencer.cafedesoul.com