Down the ward, the men are dreaming, drooling in their cots…

Here’s something very different to the standard Party Porpoise fare that I write about on these pages.

Sarah Kirkland Snider

I was scrolling through the Emusic Best Albums of 2010, when I came across something called “Penelope” a cross-over album mixing the music of Sarah Kirkland Snider and the voice of Shara Worden. Snider is a composer (no less), of Classical Music, (with real orchestras and stuff) and Worden is the singer and song writer for her own band, My Brightest Diamond, and has recently sung with the Decembrists on tour and Sufjan Stevens on The Age of Adz.

Now Classical Music is not something I know anything about and to be honest I haven’t bothered with at all. The review by John Schaefer for Emusic, was enough, however, to wet my appetite and get me to swallow my prejudices (Read it here). Basically, Penelope is a series of songs based around a story of a woman whose husband returns from the war, unable to communicate with her or even remember who he is. The Penelope of the title (apologies if you’re ahead of me) refers to the wife of Odysseus  who was left to wait ten years for her husband’s return from the Trojan War. Each song refers to chapters of Odysseus’ adventure; they are all immersed in melancholy and no little bitterness, and are movingly performed by Shara Worden.

Here’s the official video from New Amsterdam Records for No 4, The Lotus Eaters:

And this is a trailer about the whole record which fills in a lot of the details:

“Beautiful” is a much over-used word in music writing, one which I am also guilty of applying very easily. But… this whole record is quite simply, well, beautiful and one I think I’ll be returning to regularly in the next months.