Behind The Lace
There is so much to enjoy about this album it's hard to know where to start. Behind The Lace is a really polished collection and the tracks have an innate quality, a bit like when you see a musical instrument that has been hand built, you can just smell the craftmanship that's gone into it.
|The Changing Room|
The character in Sam Kelly's voice is astonishing, he produces the sort of singing which you could listen to all day long. His enthusiasm and friendly tone means he could sing the ingredients and instructions from a frozen meal packet and it would be worth hearing. Of course the supply of quality songs is mostly down to Tanya Brittain who produces some incredible, stirring and emotive lyrics which can lift the spirit, soothe the soul and scare the living daylights out of you in equal measure.
As stand alone artists they are top class, put them together and you don't stand a chance of not falling under their spell.
Hal-An-Tow has both the traditional and big production feel to it. Kelly's singing takes the lead but you get a flavour of co-writer Brittain's harmonising skills.
Another notable quality of TCR is that although they are officially a duo, the band seems, like the universe, to be ever expanding.
It seems for the sake of the song they will draft anyone they can get their hands on and you end up with an album packed to the rafters with great instrumentals and incidentals which all make the whole that little bit special.
Without doubt I'll Give You My Voice, wonderfully written by Brittain, is one of the most beautiful and emotionally charged songs you are likely to hear. If you don't listen to this with a lump in your throat then you must be made of stone. Kelly's voice has a vulnerable quality which just adds another emotional strand to the song.
It's very likely it is destined to be picked up by other folk musicians and will soon be doing the circuits. The Journeyman has a distinct ethnic feel to it and the banjo playing of Jamie Francis adds fantastic musical gems along the path Kelly treads with his voice.
A River Runs Between is almost the flipside of Wreckers is has an ethereal quality provided by Jennifer Crook on harp. The tune has a swaying, hypnotic rhythm which unnervingly brings back memories of The Wicker Man.
If you wanted a song to sum up the heritage and spirit of Cornwall you would be hard pressed to do better than Row Boys Row, you can almost smell the salt air as Kelly sings, and even the cadence and rhythm matches the unceasing movement of the sea which relentlessly batters the Cornish coast and supplies it with sardines.
|The new album|
The narrative of this song is pretty deep while at the same time being very subtle and yet scratch the surface and, like all good folk songs, there is that dark interior.
Tim Ashton takes the lead for Final Breath and it does sort of stick out like a sore thumb. Although composed by Kelly and Brittain the style doesn't really seem in keeping with the rest of the album. This is not to say there is anything wrong with it, the fast-paced, hill billy style sound is as good as any on the album it just comes as a bit of a shock to the ear.
The final track brings Kelly back to the fore. This is a stripped down and indulgently gentle ballad where Kelly's singing has again that vulnerability in bucket loads.
TCR is a bit like an entity changing and shifting in shape and personnel as the songs and tunes dictate ,but at the heart of it all is the incredible talent of Kelly and Brittain who write and sing songs that get under your skin, or into your emotions and refuse to let you go until you have heard the last note.