29 January 2019 (released)
20 February 2019
I’ve been following Hat Fitz & Cara for a good few years now and I have always enjoyed their very personal take on the Blues and Folk but this album is, without question, the best thing they have ever released.
For background, Fitz is a tall, rangy Australian with a beard to die for and he plays guitar, banjo and other things with strings as well as occasionally singing. Cara is smaller, blonder and Irish and sings, plays keyboards and percussion including a washboard and penny whistle.
The album starts with a deeply soulful number ‘Step Up’ with Fitz playing what sounds like a dobro and Cara taking lead vocals. The number is almost hypnotic, meandering on with a gospel feel and a depth that just pulls you in so that when the number finishes you actually feel a little lost.
‘City Lights’ has Fitz on vocals, the song grooving with a boogie beat but never becoming aggressive. The result is an almost cinematic spread – much like Nic Roeg’s cityscapes of the seventies put to music.
Suddenly the music explodes into ‘Hold On’ – the first time that they get close to the ‘High Energy Duo’ tag that their blurb suggests. It is a fine song but after the two tracks that precede it, it is less enveloping.
‘Trimmed And Burning’ is a hard Blues with a real groove to it, Fitz taking the lead and Cara wailing for all she is worth in the background. It’s a terrific number, both loose and tight at the same time.
My favourite on the album is the closer ‘Unbound’, back to dreamtime and drifting with Cara on vocal, whispery and wistful and banjo plucking merrily behind her.
They are a unique pair, making music that is unique and clearly personal and without any artifice. I’d happily listen to ‘Unbound’ all evening but the whole album is superb.