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GF*M Records GFM010 

Following two EPs, this is a debut album from the Brighton-based husband and wife duo of Laura Ward and Adam Ronchetti. Laura has a fine voice straight out of Anne Briggs, and Adam is the kind of guy who seemingly can play just about any instrument put before him. Here, he even plays the shruti box: an instrument we largely associate with the Indian subcontinent, though it has developed a small foothold on the UK folk scene, with Karine Polwart leading the way in championing it.

This album has a central theme: it looks at people in various stages of unravelling. Minds at the end of their tether. And the couple is admirably qualified from their day jobs to pen the seven original songs on this CD. Laura works for a charity which aims to help families affected by substance misuse, and her husband also works in the challenging voluntary sector.

Of those self-penned songs, the one that worked best for me was the one that most paid allegiance to the use of rhyming line endings: Kana. This is a most powerful song of a Kurdish refugee: and is wonderfully quirky in its melodic development, and has a quite compelling chorus. Of the non-original material, the song that leapt out at me was Door To My Mind. It is many years since I heard Frankie Armstrong deliver her song in her inimitable way. And it hits me just as forcefully now as then. And that speaks volumes for this duo.

Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 127 of The Living Tradition magazine.