Natalie Walker

Urban Angel | Quango
By KEN MICALLEF  |  January 14, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
Philadelphia native Walker should be forgiven for sounding like Sarah McLachlan’s kid sister, if only because her debut turns McLachlan’s spiritual come-ons into decidedly darker terrain. Urban Angel takes its production cues from Tricky’s classic Karmacoma, Portishead’s Dummy, and doses of Liz Frasier with Massive Attack. Originally released in 2005, the album created such a slow-burn buzz that it eventually came to the attention of the last ambient label standing, Quango, which has re-released it with minimal fanfare but solid distribution. Urban Angel’s first single, “No One Else,” was featured on HBO’s Entourage, and a Thievery Corporation remix of “Quicksand” made it into the trailer of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. Here, Walker does more than revisit trip-hop’s murky past. The title track is an enchanting mix of Moog and Gainsbourg-like harpsichord supporting Walker’s cozy voice. “Rest Easy” extends the spell with funky aplomb, “Quicksand” calls up ghostly memories from Walker’s past, and “Waking Dream” oozes safety and comfort with its twinkling glockenspiel. It’s all soothing, but Walker’s never too sweet.
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