Broken Conversations is the impressive debut album of Cork based band The Hard Ground. Fronted by vocalists Marlene Enright and Pat Carey, who share songwriting credits, the album opens with Pawn, a wonderful attention grabbing musical romp. The songs track the meltdown of a relationship in poetic lyrics that deal with temptation, desperation, loneliness and reflections of what might have been.
Enright’s sensual and sultry vocals are perfectly offset by Carey’s raw husky voice and they are often used within the songs as a foil in conversation as in Dance of a Lady, the rocky A Man A God A Woman and Bad Faith. A simple yet beautiful duet on Reckless contrasts with the bluesy Drinking to Heaven which in turn is complemented by the dynamic brass added by members of the Irish national Concert Orchestra on Mr. Boom. String players from the orchestra add a wistful feel to A Spirit Lament whilst Dave Duffy on bass and Davie Ryan on drums and percussion provide the framework for inventive and often quirky arrangements of the songs throughout the album. Nearly a Man has shades of Springsteen whilst Back Road has a brooding, spooky feel with the sparse arrangement cleverly accentuating Enright’s superb vocals.
Broken Conversations is full of memorable, catchy melodies, inspired orchestrations and thoughtful elegiac lyrics which despite their dark content create a charmingly captivating album, a fantastic debut for The Hard Ground!
Janet M. Roe
Broken Conversations is due for release in Ireland on April 12th, 2013, and in the UK on April 19th, 2013.
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