Review: Diane Cluck – Boneset

Diane Cluck - BonesetLike the tail of a blue whale, Cluck’s voice flicks upward and descends elegantly back down; it’s a mountain road now, curving tightly around chords and straightening out again momentarily; it’s a candle flickering now, ticking into sudden right angles in a dramatic overreaction to a gentle chord change. She exists in movement, as gesture and overcoming. “Do I know? Yes I do” – question feeds into instant reply; the narrative weaves between thought like a fish navigating oceanic flora, probing into itself through a continuum of reconsideration and sudden synaptic segueway; the melodies she traces are rich and curvaceous, and despite the constant tunnel of impulse and sudden overturn of decision, there is graceful assertion to the direction of these songs, like the ribbons of ink flowing out the pen of a Japanese Kanji scribe.

The album is over in 22 minutes, and as I return to the beginning again (although the term “beginning” feels wrong – there’s something organically cyclical about playing the album on loop), I turn my attention to the flashes of body and texture. For there is nail and wire visible within the weaves of sound, and while it’s easy to be tugged along by the tidal movement of Boneset, there is a stillness to the simplicity of its elements: acoustic guitar from which cello departs as unpredictable branches, the occasional propulsion of oaken, loose-skinned percussion, and Cluck’s own voice which, in spite of its snake-charmed swoops and shimmies, carves its home for us both at the centre and stays there.