Having found a refreshed sense of warmth and accessibility – without sacrificing her non-conformity – on last year’s blissful Blood Rushing, Josephine Foster has wasted little time in extending her current purple patch. So after two essential reissues (a lost album from her formative duo The Children’s Hour and her sublime solo mini-album Little Life) comes another new LP, in the shape of the delightfully antique-sounding I’m A Dreamer. Genre-hopping once again, the album seamlessly moves on from the earthy country-folk of Blood Rushing to affectionately explore a range of musical settings borrowed from the first half of the twentieth century (and perhaps before).
In lesser hands this could have meant something unappetisingly cooked in pastiche but with Foster the results are intelligent and imaginative. Hence, amongst the ten tracks of I’m A Dreamer we’re treated to the woozy saloon bar balladry of “Sugar Pie I’m Not the Same,” the slurred rustic jazz of “My Wandering Heart,” the graceful brushed drums and piano led beauty of the title-track, the gently theatrical “Amuse A Muse,” the Hawaiian-scented “Blue Roses,” the near-ragtime shuffle of “Pretty Please,” the sparse otherworldliness of “Magenta” and the laidback bluesy prowling of “This Is Where the Dreams Head, Maude.” Whilst Foster’s increasingly alluring yet still wandering tones give the album the same heart that pumped through Blood Rushing, credit here must also go to the subtle sophistication of her backing ensemble, with Micah Hulscher’s gorgeously rippling piano-playing giving the record a particularly loveable flow throughout.
Perhaps the only thing missing to complete the utterly charming and enveloping experience of I’m A Dreamer is being able to play it on a crackly gramophone with a shot of prohibition-era moonshine to sup on.