Lani Stanistreet – Unconditional (Independent)
From Melbourne, Australia, Lani Stanistreet had been playing guitar and singing for a number of years before the inspiration came to write her own material and take her music seriously. That came in 2010 with the acquisition of her first ”real grown-up guitar” - a Martin OMC Aura - and suddenly the desire to write songs and make music a major part of her life to come was overwhelming. “Unconditional” is her debut release.
The collection is completely self-penned, and Stanistreet touches on a number of sensitive subjects, from soured friendships to cancer, loneliness and suicide, but does so in a way that’s never maudlin or over-sentimental. She’s a skilled wordsmith with a crystal clear voice and keen ear for melody. Instrumentally, there’s also plenty going on; though her acoustic guitar affords a warm, central foundation for her sound, she’s joined by another half dozen musicians and vocalists, providing nuance, emphasis and lots of depth.
She’s extremely adept at conjuring up mood; “The Undertow” is haunting and poignant, and its theme of cautionary love is beautifully framed in classic folk-rock tones. “You Wear a Golden Ring” is equally evocative, and the title track features an outstanding vocal – maybe the finest on the collection – and you’ll find the little hairs that live on the back of things will invariably spring to attention.