If you feel yourself getting swept away into a pool of ambience and abstractness, then you may be indulged in The Lark, Mary Alouette’s third musical endeavor. The EP can easily be described as one beautiful head trip. The lovely Miss Alouette combines a long history of training as a jazz singer with the use of modern digital effects, including those more generally appearing in hip-hop records than anywhere near what she’s created.

Out of all the material produced by Mary Alouette, The Lark may very well be her best work to date. The first thing that you notice once the appropriately titled “Angel” begins is her delicate and unique style of vocalization. Such control and elegance is reminiscent of Édith Piaf, and the sound and feeling as a whole of the EP comes off as a cross between Jay-Z and Ella Fitzgerald. Even the fourth track, “Deux Yeux,” is incredibly awe-inspiring and beautiful, regardless of whether or not you understand a lick of French, as the song is sung entirely in that tongue.

What really stands out in Alouette’s case as a jazz musician is not just the soul-filled emotion that flows from start to finish, or the fact that there’s never a dull moment between any of the five tracks, but really the integration of computer-generated effects. Alouette proves that she is not above experimentation and heavily relies on post-production, along with her 1940s jazz and soul style to really craft the sound she’s looking for.

The extremely unconventional nature of The Lark is risky business on its own, as it can honestly make or break the listener’s desire to hear it through to the end. Love or hate it, it’s still a commendable, albeit strange, feat to accomplish, and still manages to come out sounding clean and respectable.

In A Word: First-Rate

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