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Fat Cat Records FATCD027

Yet another masterclass in contemporary songwriting from England’s foremost female duo. The usual crop of love songs, and some interesting new avenues (car crashes, anti-Semitism, the twin towers… all human life is here, and more). The Broken Crash Barrier song leaves the listener wondering whether the narrator is the rescuer, or the victim, alive or dead. Spooky stuff, but captivating none the less. I can empathize with the sentiments of South America (Come Home Soon) which is a tender Chris While song about a distant lover heading far yonder (I spent many years as a youngster sailing cargo ships around the South American coast). Suddenly I’m there again, as she has conjured up the atmosphere of the place in her inimitable style. Julie Matthews’ song Gravity is a practical science lesson (and all the more poignant as Chris While was recovering from a knee op during the recording. I’m sure she got the joke, Julie…).

If there is still somebody needing a prompt that Chris While has the best vocal range of anyone alive, merely have a listen to Come On Over, where she injects soul, jazz, blues – and yes, pop into the most tender of ballads – perfectly complemented by the masterful guitar playing of Howard Lees, a stalwart of CW/JM albums.

Eight studio albums in 15 years plus numerous solo and side projects ain’t a bad batting average. The 49 minutes herein are well worth a belt. Slick, well produced by the ladies themselves in their own new studio; and tastefully packaged, on this form the future looks rosy.

Grem Devlin


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This album was reviewed in Issue 95 of The Living Tradition magazine.