Lotte Kestner – The Bluebird of Happiness
February 13th, 2013 by Eric Loose
When a relatively unknown name strikes out on their own apart from their bandmates, the stage is set for what usually ends up as a more experimental shift. Understandably, the solo album is a template for the creative juices that couldn’t fit within the frames of the band’s construct. Personal interests and tendencies seep in, and you’re left with a clearer picture of the artist by themselves, unobstructed apart from compromise or settling. This is what makes Anne-Lynne Williams’s [stagename: Lotte Kestner] solo efforts so intriguing, as they fit none of the aforementioned characterizations. Don’t fret- they still ooze the same creativity and raw talent as her band, Trespassers William. Each one is similar in mood, and The Bluebird of Happiness is yet another testament to Kestner’s solo prowess apart from Trespassers William. The band’s signature album, Different Stars, is a purple-y, swirling romantic mess of shoegaze and lovelorn crooning. It dips in and out of hazy guitar swells that blanket and muffle Lotte’s vocals. On her solo efforts -and this one in particular- the reverb-laden guitars are traded for pianos and acoustics that allow for her voice to steal the spotlight. Songs like “Paris” showcase just how beautiful her whispery voice is when given its due presence at center stage. Somber and lamentful, The Bluebird of Happiness doesn’t deviate much from previous records like China Mountain.
Again, intimacy is one of the main draws, here. The entirety feels like Williams is blanketing the listener with her personal lamentations, and she feels so very close. This is due to the bare production and lack of layering. The minimalism is apt, and is the chief variation from equally-beautiful voices of her peers and Trespassers William alike. I would go as far to argue that Lotte Kesner’s defining moments of her solo catalogue comes from this album, in the form of her cover of Beyonce’s “Halo.” What could have easily come off as cheap and intrusive instead highlights Williams’s knack for communicating the same level of sentimentalism and authenticity through her own subtleness as Beyonce does by stretching her voice to such limits. And further, it feels utterly in place. Always, Kestner’s composition and track placement feels purposeful and restrained. The melancholy and homogeny might meld together into what some feel is too dismal and same-y, but those listeners will be missing out on an ever-consistent musician displaying how everything she touches turns beautiful, no matter what name it’s released under.
“The Bluebird of Happiness”
Final Score: 4/5
You can buy the album here, or