Lipstick lover hits the highs

Lipstick lover hits the highs

Russian Red's second album has been a great success

Russian Red's second album is... What? You don't know who Russian Red is?

Well, I had no idea, either, before coming across her album. The key word is "had". Now, if you ask me about Russian Red, I can tell you, I will tell you unequivocally: she's great.

"She" is Lourdes Hernandez, a Spanish folk-indie artist who sings and writes in English; her stage name comes from the name of her favourite shade of lipstick.

Her successful 2008 debut album, I Love Your Glasses, helped to make her name. From April 2008 to December 2009 she was busy touring - giving more than 200concerts around the world.

Hernandez chose to record her second album, the 12-track Fuerteventura, in Glasgow, Scotland, rather than her home city of Madrid, saying: "I wanted to unwind, leaving my daily life and the atmosphere where I usually live my life... [so I] could focus completely on this record."

This decision has certainly paid off. The album, released in May, enjoyed immediate success, debuting at number two on Spain's official album chart and topping iTune's Spanish chart.

Fuerteventura serves up a diverse set of tracks, ranging from the melancholy to the inspirational. One of the reasons for the mixture lies in Russian Red's nomadic composing. "I wrote many of the songs while I was on the road," she says. "For this reason, they show different states of mind as during my concert tour I went through a lot of different experiences."

The slightly chaotic style of indie go-to guy Tony Doogan, who produced, recorded and mixed the album, also contributed to its range of moods. "He's a little messy with his things," Hernandez says. "But that makes him even more special. This quality of his is one of the things that makes him surprise you with all these ideas that suddenly come to mind. I like him very much. He's chaotic, but, at the same time, has absolute control."

An increase in variety can mean a decrease in quality, but not with Russian Red; she remain true to her strengths - her soulful, crisp voice and ability to hit those high notes with ease - throughout the album.

Hernandez was delighted with the musical accompaniment of the band Belle & Sebastian and Doogan's expertise. "The songs were in very good hands; everybody treated them with loving care."

Such attention to detail should ensure Fuerteventura establishes Russian Red as one to watch.

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