Blue House (label)
28 February 2016 (released)
28 March 2016
To put it simply, this is one of the most beautiful albums I’ve heard this year.
Husband and wife team making acoustic Americana/Folk/Alt.Country isn’t of itself unique but the quality of the voices, the songs and the harmonies is just breath-taking and the further you delve into the album the lower your jaw drops with the sheer perfection of it all – and this is their debut album!
It kicks off with a nice and jangly country-rocker with Sian Chandler taking the lead and husband Ray supplying harmony and BVs but your breath is taken by the next number, ‘Goodbye Tomorrow’, as Ray takes the lead and Anna Jenkins supplies some beautiful violin.
The voices switch around – often on the same track – with Sian taking control and then Ray but always sympathetic to the song. The songs themselves are beautifully constructed, always drawing the listener in and often leaving you with a touch of melancholy at the end of a piece.
‘Blind’ is simply magnificent, shared between the two voices and with a dark and brooding background featuring Russell Smith’s guitar and Simon Lewis’ cello – compare it to some of the folk material from Sandy Denny or John & Beverley Martyn and it comes up as equal to that incredible standard.
One of the best numbers is the haunting ‘Winter Moves In’ with strings and simple acoustic setting the scene and Sian’s whispery voice utterly plaintive and emotive but there are also some more up-tempo numbers that really catch the mood – ‘Spider And The Fly’ is powerful and strong, definitely destined for classic status.
As unexpected as it is brilliant, these guys are building a reputation and from this point of view deserve all the kudos coming their way.