Laurence Made Me Cry - The Diary Of Me (Do I Get A Sticker)

Laurence Made Me Cry – The Diary Of Me (Do I Get A Sticker)

Laurence Made Me Cry is the umbrella under which artist and multi-instrumentalist Jo Whitby works. Originally from Bristol she’s been a Cardiff resident and active part of the local music and artistic scenes for some time now. I saw Jo play with just a guitar around the time of the release of her debut EP back in 2011, her affecting vocals and bittersweet songs really struck a chord , since the she’s been working on a fan funded debut album ‘The Diary of Me’ which came out recently. It is a real step up, a joyfully intricate yet personal and philisophical piece of work that jigsaw pieces together collaborations from diverse artists from around the world;  yet is firmly rooted in the songs she wrote in her bedroom at home. Some have tagged Laurence Made Me Cry’s sound as ‘folktronica’ but I find this term a little ill-fitting because it doesn’t quite describe her sound: the bubbling synths, bleeps and beats that undulate under certain tracks accentuate her rootsy sound, but are anchored by Jo’s expressive playing and her achingly rich vocal tone, that resonates with the wisdom of experience at one one moment and the next with hopeful imagination and urge to escape.

The collaborations are so exceptional here that they never sound out of place but merely a part of the ingredience, Jo has skillfully assembled a cast of musicians and artists both local and international, that merely add to the sonic palette that is painted, adding even more depth and colour to the final work.That she has managed to sew together into a wonderfully cohesive package with artwork, visual accompaniment and audio/visual contributions without audible joins is testament to her craft as an artist. These include Salwa Azar who adds haunting vocals and lyrics to the glitchy dream states of ‘Paper Chains’.  You find yourself carried away on a journey through an evening out with an electronic cresendo by Alone and back, and Ash Cooke(Pulco) who adds guitar, paddling synths,and almost comedy taffy train conductors voice(“and Carrrrdiff central) to the charming travelogue pop of ‘Between Destinations’, punctuated by Jo’s chiming electro-uke and sings wide eye’d about the ‘magical’ possibilities ahead. Paul Foster a.k.a Dementio13 embellishes the utterly gorgeously ethereal ‘Intelligent Mr Toad’ wrestling with the themes of self expression and emotions, it peaks on the startling moment when the mist clears and the synths and heart beats subside and Jo’s ghostly swoops slow motion across the scene ‘in this room all the mirrors/I am alone’, before gradually building back to an affecting peak, this startling piece somehow manages to modestly yet affectionately echo the affecting latter work of Kate Bush.

From the gently lapping lullaby of opener ‘All That Patience Brings’ one thing shines through, Jo’s own writing, which has matured and become more impressive thus there are several spine tingling moments on this fine fine long player.‘From the moment we arrive the thought of home is on my mind/those city streets with houses lined’ Jo sighs on the marvelously winding arpeggios of ‘Houses’ that stares out lonely from the window and meditates on the warmth of home, while Cathy Fowles’ gorgeous violas waltz gracefully throughout, this outstanding ballad.The upbeat horns and circular rhythms of french pop on ‘Bientot A Moi’ is delightfully breezily casting out rays of continental light through a slate grey sky, and is echo’d in the warmth of the arrangements on the evocatively winding ‘A Channeling of the Northern Lights’.

Throughout ‘The Diary Of Me’ you are reminded that this isn’t just another album off some production line, there’s an appreciation of every sound and texture, indeed spoken word is represented by ‘Remedy’ a snaking marriage of strings and glitches, Jo’s poetic couplets concerning landscapes and whales and the sea are possessors of a vivid literate quality, spoken and then sung, adding a swaying grace to the night air. While the parred back sounds of ‘This Evening’ are like a moment for breath among these layered tracks: a witness based narrative read aloud by the North American accent of Astrid a.k.a Sillysparrowness.

‘The Cunning Folk’ is a pirouetting tumbling showcase of Jo’s burgeoning artistry it’s wonderfully considered with brittle lyrical narratives this is startlingly intimate, generous in spirit and empathetic, her vocal tone offering a kind arm on the shoulder ‘go on towards the light make sure your shining bright/Because I worry that they’ll take it all away from you’ her tone curling to a faintly higher plain as if to add a full stop, simply wondrous! Laurence Made Me Cry’s ‘The Diary of Me’ is endlessly imaginative, self exploratory, and full of heart: but don’t let the title fool you it’s not just a straightforward document to her life and work but a relisation of her musicianship and song writing skills. It’s the blending of different contributions onto one long playing canvass. Because when you stand back and see the bigger picture you’ll be touched by it, this album is outstandingly wonderful and rightly takes its place one of the best albums of this year so far from any Cardiff artist!



God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.