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Beacon Ridge Productions BRP15

I was excited to see this album coming in as I was very impressed by Qristina and Quinn’s Family album back in 2011, and I was keen to see how they had developed since then. But when I read that this was somewhat of a concept album split into two sections – one more traditional and the other where they “open the doors of the beautiful but oftentimes rigid-minded traditional music we love to various sounds and inspirations” - I began to get worried.

Qristina is a solid fiddle player and a sweet singer. Quinn is an exceptional guitar player. On the first half of Little Hinges they tackle some traditional tunes along with some of their own and a couple of songs (Si Kahn’s What You Do With What You’ve Got and the evergreen Crooked Jack). They do a good job, though I was disappointed to hear Quinn’s acoustic guitar getting a bit lost in the arrangements at times – he is worth hearing. On The Bachand Jigs, they excel and show just how capable they are of playing trad and trad-style tunes – they are up there with the best.

But then the title track which is supposed to “open the door” to the next section appears and the album moves very definitely into a more modern and contemporary sphere, one where their use of weird and wonderful sounds, processors and loops dominates. Some people will love it, but it is not for me I’m afraid, although their self penned song, Listen, is very pleasant and Qristina’s tune, Never Goodbye, is a good one if you can hear it under the peculiar guitar noises.

The penultimate track is an adaptation of Child 79, Three Little Babes, where they “mess up the acoustic guitar part a bit” by “playing it out of an amp with space echo, through a 10-foot ventilation pipe into a mic placed in a large metal garbage can.” One word – why? Though it isn’t actually as bad as it sounds. And then they tease us by finishing off with a short but great French Canadian tune, showing just how good they can be at the traditional tunes when they leave the messing about aside.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 107 of The Living Tradition magazine.