Label: 3 Syllables Records Release date: 8/11/10 Link: MySpace Buy: Amazon Oh Vanille/Ova Nil was first (reluctantly) released on Important Records in 2003, as Diane Cluck's fourth album, and first real label release. Her previous three albums were self-released and distributed, mostly sold with hand-drawn artwork from the merchandise stalls of her gigs. I say reluctantly, as Diane doesn't seem to be particularly interested in record deals and album sales, preferring to make music 'when inspired.' Sadly though, there's not much money to be made from touring these days, which could explain this re-release, Oh Vanille/Ova Nil on 180g audiophile 12 inch vinyl, distributed by the Welsh label 3 Syllables Records. "Literalism doesn't age," wrote Pitchfork of the record in 2006, which seems a strange critique of an album characterised by its poetic lyrics: "The weeks have been hazy, but something here is changing/I watched the sun convince the weakest cloud to let it through" she sings on 'The Turnaround Road'. It's rare that poetry functions as modern song lyrics without teetering into self-indulgent and downright naff territory. But despite the intimacy of what she sings about ("Have I told you how I like to see/A man submit to ecstasy/With all his inhibitions free/And moaning like his mother", 'Half A Million Miles From Home'), there's nothing uncomfortable about listening to Oh Vanille/Ova Nil. The listener is allowed into her innermost thoughts and it's this openness which coats the album with a thick layer of sadness. Despite this frankness in her delivery, it's not an album I slid comfortably into on the first listen. It took a couple of plays to see behind the slight tunelessness of her acoustic guitar and there's little overt expression or emotion in her vocals. But it becomes clear after a few listens that the sparsity and simplicity of the arrangements serves to give the lyrics room to breathe and to be appreciated fully. The album's melancholy is still as fresh as if it were being released for the first time, and the sincerity and beauty in Diane's lyrics can be held responsible for this, as well as the spareness of her arrangements. I first heard Diane Cluck's name in some of Emmy The Great's lyrics. "You are still not Charles Bukowski/And I am not Diane Cluck," she sings on '24', a lament to underachievement and unfulfilling relationships. She's a contemporary of Emmy, just as she is of Jeffrey Lewis and Devandra Banhart, with whom she's previously recorded, but she somehow seems to come from a different era. The adjective 'timeless' is a terrible cliché, but her music, and the quiet confidence behind it, won't date easily. Photobucket