Label: Fire Release date: 07/12/09 Website: The twenty six tracks on Josephine Foster’s newest album Graphic as a Star finds the singer-songwriter putting the words of the nineteenth century American poet Emily Dickinson to original music. The results are likely to appeal to fans of Joanna Newsom and other performers from the Alt-Folk or Freak-Folk scene reinvigorating old songs with new technology. Foster’s vocals are something of an acquired taste, sharing similarities with sixties performers such as Joni Mitchell or Joan Baez. She has the clarity that such famous poems demand and an eccentric feel for pitch and phrasing that demonstrates either an adventurous spirit, or wayward hearing issues, depending on how you look at it. In songs such as ‘How Happy is the Little Stone’ or ‘In Falling Timbers Buried' Foster is happy to let the beauty of the poetry shine through. Many of the tracks are a capella versions, or simply accompanied by guitars and ukuleles, whilst a harmonica and birdsong provide some colour to the simple arrangements. The full impact of Dickinson’s work is only really revealed on the page, and whilst this album may introduce a new generation to the work of one of America’s most revered poets, over twenty six tracks the overall effect is more soporific than exciting. This is a release that would have worked far more successfully as a much shorter EP, or had it included more instruments, musicians, and thus more potency. As it is, only the most stoic listeners will make it past the first three or four tracks. Rating: 6/10