The Snug Sessions opens with ‘Narcissistic Blues’, Tori’s voice over gentle piano, and you think that you’ve got this sussed. Then, with no warning, the band kicks in and you have to shelve any preconceptions. There’s trumpet and saxophone from Jenny Murphey and Ben Tynegate’s wah-wah guitar and a clever, perceptive lyric. This is her second album following on from Long Nights, Flightless Birds & Coming Home which was released in 2013.
Tori Reed describes herself as “born in New Zealand, raised in Australia, a natural nomad” and is now based in the south-west of England. That first album was released in New Zealand but I’m sure that if you go to one of Tori’s gigs and offer her money she will supply you with a copy. However, we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here to talk about The Snug Sessions.
Once you’ve adjusted your perspective you’ll find that there is a lot to enjoy in this collection. Su Keates’ pizzicato violin on ‘Hangover Guy’, for example, evokes the mood of a morning after in a way that I can’t quite define – rather as though someone has set a mechanical toy going next to your headache – while Oliver Parkinson’s didgeridoo on ‘Cheap Love’ adds a vaguely disturbing tone. Best of all is the clever wordplay in the songs. ‘Micro Managing’ is about trying to talk to someone and failing and ‘Cheap Love’ boasts the line “I don’t have enough cents to see straight through this”. That’s clever, but better still is ‘Paper Cup’ a description of an old man sitting on a pavement “lapping up his loneliness from a photo of a paper cup.” I’m not over-fond of quoting lyrics in a review but for Tori Reed, I’ll make an exception.
Tori is an independent spirit in all senses of the word. She and her band have made a fine album but it has taken three years to bring it to market and that’s too long. Go along to one of her gigs and support her music, you won’t be disappointed.
Artist’s website: www.torireed.com
‘Ichee’ – from The Snug Sessions: