Joanna Newsom Have One On Me, Album, Drag City, March 1 **** After the success of her 2006 album Ys, she was dragged from the world of underground indie-folk to the dizzy heights of critical acclaim. But she's got faith in her fans of new and old – while most people might have struck while the fire's hot and released a short, sharp classic, Joanna Newsom has stuck a finger in the face of convention and released a three-disc, 125 minute spectacular.
At first glance, it sounds daunting, the musical equivalent of War And Peace, but once you get stuck in, there's a lot to like.
Her voice has levelled out – it's more classically pretty nowadays, and floats between her trademark strings, horns and piano. It drifts between a more traditional folk sound and a contemporary indie-folk sound, via the kooky wailings of Kate Bush.
The songs themselves have knuckled down a bit too and, despite averaging about seven minutes a piece, feel less sprawling and more concise.
The record's opener Easy, and closing track, the achingly sparse piano ballad Does Not Suffice, are highlights, and ideal trial downloads if you're apprehensive about ploughing through the whole thing.
In parts it's sad and itchily intense, but ultimately Have One On Me is triumphant. It takes some listening, but keep you company for a long time to come.