The first Shed Sessions album was wonderful, just Chantel with an acoustic guitar playing her favourite covers. After the early sessions she began adding piano and occasional electric guitar and the result is even more intense and all-enveloping. I found myself turning the volume up just to get even further into her renditions of tracks such as Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ or the fabulous ‘Walk On land’.
Every track is a gem. Chantel’s vocals are pure and carry the emotion of the songs brilliantly, while her piano playing and guitar show that she is one of the best musicians on the UK scene today.
‘Creep’ is chilling. Really carrying the sense of self-disgust and shame. What this lady can do with just voice and piano is shocking. Jewel’s ‘Foolish Games’ continues the form and she manages to keep that sense of damaged and lost soul perfectly. McGregor’s guitar makes an entrance on ‘Drive Home’ (Steven Wilson) and the song takes on an anthemic feel – you can almost see the lighters in the crowd.
There really isn’t a weak moment here but there are a couple of favourites: ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’ (Steven Wilson again) has a magnificent ‘flatness’ to it, her vocal almost emotionless but her playing quite the opposite and her version of the classic ‘Summertime’ is simply gorgeous.
Wayne Proctor has done a great job in putting all this together.
It is going to be fascinating to see what she does in a real live environment after these two albums.