Hatful Of Rain were formed in 2011, have been played by Mike Harding and have performed live on the Bob Harris show. Their music crosses the borders of folk and country and Songs Of The Lost And Found is their fourth release, following two albums and an EP.
I found the album to be a little mixed. At its best are songs where you have either a great blending between the vocals of Chloe Overton and the musicianship of the band or just a great instrumental, such ‘Gathering Wood’, where the fiddle leads a lively tune, or the more Appalachian sounding ‘Won’t Be Druv’.
‘Where There’s Life’ is a country-influenced song about believing in someone despite everything “Where there’s life there’s hope/And I’m clinging to that now/Find a means to cope/I could be the making of you now/If only they’ll allow”. It’s nicely written – you’re neatly balanced between, on the one hand, believing or, on the other, thinking this is all false hope. Similarly, ‘Devil’s Dyke’ is a serious story based around the Battle of Boar’s Head, near Richebourg L’Avoue in 1916. The battle is known as The Day That Sussex died because 70% of the casualties were men from the Royal Sussex Regiment. It’s given poignancy by a slightly militaristic beat in the background and the tale is brought to life by being sung from the view of the partner of one of the men who was killed.
But there are also songs where, to my ear, the lightness of the tunes doesn’t carry the seriousness of the lyrics – ‘Down in the Town’ is a cracking melody, but doesn’t work for me as the backing to a tale of flooding, which killed thirty-four people and destroyed buildings; ‘I Thought You Would Live’ (self-explanatory title) also has a tune which feels too light for the lyric.
My two favourite tracks are the opener, ‘Start Again’ – fine playing on a tune that borders folk/country and has a story line of resilience (starting again) in the face of abuse; and ‘Sinking Like A Stone’, more country-flavoured, about an 18-year old leaving home for the city’s promise “Just a jumped up kid with a headful of dreams” who discovers the grass isn’t greener “I’m just too proud to tell you/That I’m sinking like a stone/The truth is I’m longing to come home”.
The band are on tour in June and July, details on the website. There are no videos yet available from the new album, so the link below takes you to an earlier song which gives you a good feel of the band’s style – and also gives you the opportunity to contribute to a domestic abuse charity in Sussex if you download the track.
Artist’s website: http://www.hatfulofrain.co.uk
‘Scarlet Ribbon’ – official video: