Two years on from the success of `Countin’ The Blues`, Italian musician Elli de Mon returns with a new full-length album `Pagan Blues` which is her seventh release since 2014. `Pagan Blues`, comprises eight original songs and a cover of Robert Petway’s ‘Catfish Blues’.

The album opens with `The Fall` an edgy offering that teases and threatens to explode but keeps itself in check. It has a kind of angular guitar chord riff that lays a platform for the singer`s quietly shared vocal delivery. A track that reminded me of the White Stripes for some reason. What I’d describe as a swampy, fuzz like sound drives us through `I Can See You` with it`s vocals that are almost challenging nigh on provocative. 

`Desert Song` has a continuous rhythmic riff and reflective vocals shared atop which builds volubly and musically as it progresses. It ebbs away slightly then repeats the process on its nervy journey. There`s much more of a slow burn to `Catfish Blues` with a recurring guitar chord riff allowing the anguished vocals to roll over its moody and apprehensive texture. A slower interpretation of the original that`s over eighty years old.

`Star` has a delightful reverberating guitar ambience about it with whispered words like a summons, delightfully enticing and almost spell like. There`s a percussive beat like the sound of a clock on `Ticking` hence I assume the title. It bursts into life briefly and creates an image of a sand glass or egg timer emptying, maybe a metaphor for time running out with vocals that are virtually angst ridden or tormented.

Title track `Pagan Blues` has a vibrating pulsing guitar riff and is an enticing mesmerising hypnotic submission which brought to mind the tension and apprehension garnered by artist`s such as PJ Harvey. There`s a kind of South-Asian or Middle Eastern slant to `Sirens’ Call` with its spiritual or chant like invocations.

The album concludes with `Troubled` another slow burn with subtle hand percussion that gave this number a sense of the mystical and to me virtually shaman like.

There was so much to enjoy on `Pagan Blues` and with this singer, songwriter and musician being new to me, i`ve got some catching up to do with her back catalogue.

Elli de Mon is an undiscovered gem and I can only hope that this release will go some way towards altering that and bring her the recognition she richly deserves.

Rating 8.5 / 10

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