Orenda Fink – Ask The Night Orenda Fink – Ask The Night

Orenda Fink - Ask The Night

Orenda Fink - Ask The Night

To say Orenda Fink draws heavily from her influences would probably be an understatement. Ask The Night sounds something like a Frankenstein monster made up of Led Zeppelin’s folkier leanings (think “Going to California”), Neil Young’s songwriting and themes, and Emmylou Harris’s vocal techniques.

But as they say, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and Ask The Night is no exception. In borrowing heavily from classic folk, Fink has managed to spin a dreamy album that solidifies her position as a great contemporary folk singer. Her vocals glide over stark arrangements consisting mainly of guitars, accompanied by banjos, accordions, and the occasional backup singer. Lyrics are not to be missed either, whether she is using flooding as a metaphor for life’s troubles in “High Ground” or reminiscing about her home in the not-so-subtly named “Alabama.” The instruments are much less present than on her previous album and her past work with Azure Ray, effectively bringing her voice to the foreground. Fans of O+S should probably stay away; I was actually startled when it dawned on me that Fink made that album.

The main feature of the album is arguably its greatest downfall, however. As Fink struggles to find her own niche, she falls somewhere close to pop-country singers like the aforementioned Harris or Dolly Parton and 90s fem-pop singers like Natalie Merchant. It’s by no means a bad album, and short-changing Fink’s vocal abilities should be a crime, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling I’ve heard the songs before.

Orenda Fink - Ask The Night, reviewed by Kevin on 2009-10-30T14:17:48-07:00 rating 3.2 out of 5

Comments are closed.