For a Mute artist, Beth Jeans Houghton is quite an odd fit, by which I mean excellent.
A folky, emotive female vocalist, with a quirky, cute vibe playing banjos and whatnot, which seems like a stretch for the label responsible for Warm Leatherette, Collapsing New People, and a number of works by Einstürzende Neubauten and The Birthday Party.
A singer-songwriter with a fetching beautiful voice, Ms. Houghton has the appeal that makes her a reasonable opener for St. Vincent or Imogen Heap (both of who she’s opened for) but she also has an atypical edge that has lead to her supporting acts like Tinarawen and Cornershop.
Her debut album for Mute is called “Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose” (under the headscratching name “Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny“), and we’re happy to offer a stream of KCRW’s Music Director Jason Bentley‘s favorite track “Atlas“.
Ms. Houghton is truly talented and has a wildly interesting perspective that gives her an edge in an ever expanding field of tame singer-songwriters. One quick YouTube search for videos and you’ll see the way in which she straddles the line between lovely, cute glitterly popisms and really strange nightmarish psychedelia.
The first single “Dodecahedron” is a dramatic behemoth of a track that sounds like it was tailor made to be the theme song for a clever movie in which Juno meets Little Miss Sunshine meets The Royal Tenenbaums.
Regardless of all of it’s cinematic pomp, stripped down, at the center of it’s hugeness lies Beth Jeans Houghton’s voice; a warm, expertly controlled, positively glowing thing.
— Mario Cotto