Single Review: Alessi – Wives

By on Thursday, 15th December 2016 at 12:00 pm

Alessi Laurent-Marke, formerly known as Alessi’s Ark, has shortened her stage moniker to simply Alessi, ahead of a new album release scheduled for early next year. The new album’s current single ‘Wives’ is musically a step forward from Laurent-Marke’s previous quirky-but-cute brand of folk pop, but its feminist theme is a recurring one for Alessi, whose past songs about strong women have included ‘Wire’ from her 2011 album ‘Time Travel’ and ‘Veins Are Blue’ from 2013’s ‘The Still Life’.

In the press release for ‘Wives’, Alessi describes the new track as “a meditation on womanhood and the powerful roles, responsibilities and loving duties all women strive to fulfill in their lifetimes. [It was] inspired by women in my own family, in my close circle of friends and in the widely woven feminine collective.” She continues: “The idea of being someone’s wife inspires me to no end. Recently I’ve come to believe that to be married to oneself, to be committed to nurturing our own spirits, will give us the best chance at growing truly loving relationships with our partners.” This last idea is also, perhaps, an insight into Alessi’s newfound professional individualism.

The Luke Barham-directed video for ‘Wives’ is set in 1949, immediately post-World War II. It finds Alessi alternately narrating and portraying a fictional woman waiting for her soldier husband to come home from battle. Armed with a Ouija board, a crystal ball and a stiff drink, the wife sorts through her husband’s letters and belongings, trying to find a ray of hope. Alessi’s voice conveys a combination of desperation and stoicism as she conjures her character’s stark reality: “Her weathered skin is whiter now / to their four doves, she reads aloud in their room . . . Dad’s not been home for a few weeks now / he doesn’t bring in the paper, so the dog’s learnt how”.

Alessi’s further lyrical reflection imagines the hardships of “a fisherman’s wife / waving him off into the night” and the stresses faced by the wife of a porter: “she made him a back brace, just in case . . . she prays it works / she is pregnant again.” Her final lines bring the song around to a poignant first person perspective: “I could never have thought I would be your wife / but here I am, you are the love of my life / here I am, I am the love of your life”.

Alessi’s musical arrangement is in a similar vein as her previous guitar-based alt-folk, but in place of her light folky bounce and self-deprecatingly ironic tone, ‘Wives’ has an air of austerity, a strikingly unadorned sense of realism. Ultimately, ‘Wives’ suggests that the music on Alessi’s forthcoming new LP was composed by a songwriter whose message is clear and whose primary intent is to be taken seriously.


‘Wives’, Alessi’s first single under her newly shortened stage name, is due out on the 13th of January 2017 via indie label Super Fan 99. TGTF’s coverage of her previous project, Alessi’s Ark, is right back here.


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