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Pooka


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Thin-edged folk/rock

Status:

Disbanded. Final album, Shift (2001). Both Sharon Lewis and Natasha Jones now record as solo artists

See also:

Wikipedia's Pooka entry

Sharon Lewis's site; her MySpace page

Natasha Lea Jones's site

Comparisons:

This is a hard one. Maybe like the darker songs of The Flash Girls. Some of their harmonies are a little like blackgirls or the English a cappella folk group, The Watersons. No one I know of sounds quite like them. (Neile)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Pooka are a duo who sing quirky tunes with odd harmonies—sometimes sweet sometimes edgy. They are definitely not to everyone's taste, but I like them. They are ethereal and kind of fey, and like the creature they're named after, they're not quite a tame spirit, however magical. Their harmonies & some of the lyrics seem to come right from that folklore—a little dark, human on the basic level of dark cottages on a dark night. Something in their harmonies reminds me of the Yorkshire folk group (I think Pooka is from Yorkshire, too) The Watersons, who have very harsh but beautiful harmonies. Though strangely enough, most people I know don't like them, either. It's worth giving them a listen to see if they'll sink into your brain. (Neile)

I am very intrigued by this duo. Mostly just acoustic guitars wild harmonies some creepy lyrics. They sound like a couple of young girls with no vocal training. I didn't like it at all the first time but after a few times through my CD player their music has grown on me. It's bare bones yet complex at the same time and one wonders what kind of a mind some of the lyrics came from. (ItsyBitsyS@aol.com)

Recommended first album:

spinning is electronic-based. Pooka is acoustic. I would follow your preferences in those areas.

Recordings:


Pooka

Release info:

1993—Elektra, U.S.—61624-2

Availability:

Wide in U.S. and U.K.

Ecto priority:

Recommended only for those who like offbeat folk rock

Group members:

Natasha Jones—vocal, guitar
Sharon Lewis—vocal, guitar, piano

Guest artists:

John Coxon—bass guitar, slide guitar, electric guitar
Barak Schmool—tenor saxophone
Simon Whittaker—drums
John Pryce—bodhran

Produced by:

Pooka with John Coxon

Comments:

I wasn't sure I liked this when I first bought it, but gradually it has grown on me. It's and edgy and strange and sweet. My favourite song is "Sleepwalking," the most urgent song on the album. Give it some time and I think this album will surprise you. It did me. (Neile)

spinning

Release info:

1997—trade2/Island (U.K.)—TRDCD 1004/524 426-2

Availability:

U.K. only release; out of print and a little hard to find

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of extremely quirky pop

Group members:

Natasha Jones—vocals, guitar, keyboards
Sharon Lewis—vocals, guitar, keyboards

Guest artists:

Steve Lamb—bass
Joe Leach—programming, keyboards
Rob Ellis—drums, percussion
Elgan Prosser—dist. guitar
Jeremy Stacey—drums
The Kick Horns—brass
Rodi Lorimer—trumpet, flugelhorn
Claire Jenkins—cello
Seth Lakeman—violin

Produced by:

Joe Leach

Comments:

Pooka have a certain awkwardness that is disarming and quirky and works on their folkrock/pop sound. This album feels more poplike than Pooka, but still distinctively off-kilter and odd and charming. (Neile)

Mean Girl (single)

Release info:

1997—trad2/Island—009/854979-2

Availability:

Probably out of print

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of extremely quirky pop

Group members:

Pooka (Natasha Jones and Sharon Lewis)—vocals, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, keyboards

Guest artists:

Rob Ellis—drums (1)
Steve Lamb—bass (1, 2)
Elgan Prosser—distroted guitar (1),BR> Jeremy Stacey—drums (2)
Brian Duffy, Joe Leach—programming

Produced by:

Three songs by Joe Leach, one by Brian Duffy and Joe Leach

Comments:

This is a four-song single. The first track, "Mean Girl" is one of my favourites from spinning—rocking, powerful, and evocative. "Cool Heart" is a song about vampires which doesn't quite do so much for me—especially the beginning section. I think it's supposed to be dramatic and playful, but it's feels silly (and plays on the constrast between their stretched vocal harmonies which can I can only take so much of and breaks into rock which also feel strained). However, "Cherry Orchard" and "Swan Songs" are both great returns to form: the first is a driving electronic track which I really like, and the latter is one where this time the dramatic playfulness really works for me. (Neile)

Fools Give Birth To Angels

Release info:

2001—Pooka Records—POOKA CD04

Availability:

U.K. only release; out of print and a little hard to find

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of quirky pop

Group members:

Sharon Lewis—vocals, backing vocals, piano, guitars, recorder
Natasha Jones—vocals, backing vocals, drums, piano, synths, drum programming, drum loop, bass

Guest artists:

Geoff Smith—hammer dulcimer (1)
Edmond Kurkjian—slide electric guitar (1), timpani/cymbals (2), drums (5, 9), percussion (5), bass (9)
Rob Ellis—snare drums (2), string, piano drums (6)
Martin Furey—Irish flute (2), Irish pipes (5)
Vince De Cicco—accordion (2)
Instrumental—strings (2, 5, 9)
Good Vibrations—strings (3, 4)
Kevin Bates—flute (3)
Manjeet—tabla samples (3)
Mark Jones—drums (3), drum programming (4, 6)
Cassian—snare (4)
Gary Kavanagh—trumpet, flugel horn (8)
The Hamliton Bell Ringers—bells

Produced by:

Sharon Lewis and Natasha Jones

Comments:

Lovely and weird in all the right ways. This is less folky than their previous releases but just as odd and charming. I have lots of favourites here. (Neile)

Shift

Release info:

2001—Rough Trade—rtradecdo12

Availability:

U.K. only release

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of quirky pop

Group members:

Sharon Lewis—vocals, vocal harmonies, guitar, keyboards
Natasha Jones—vocals, vocal harmonies, guitars, string arrangements, birds, piano, eletric guitar

Guest artists:

Brian Duffy—electronic arrangements, programming, synths, guitar, duduck, elbow guitar
Syd Ewart—Moog bass (4)
Edmond Kurkjian—Wurlitzer bass, keyboards, drums

Produced by:

Brian Duffy with SHaron Lewis and Natasha Jones (1)

Comments:

Heavily synth and electronic based, vocals often quite processed. I like it, but it's not quite as appealing as Fools Give Birth To Angels. Has moments of sounding like radio-friendly R&B pop before it veers off into strangeness. (Neile)

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Entry last updated 2012-05-15 20:25:10.
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