LUCY PRINGLE & CHRIS WRIGHT – The Speaking Heart (Mondegreen Music MONDCD01)

LUCY PRINGLE & CHRIS WRIGHT The Speaking HeartAn album that beguiles from the moment go with “Rose Song” utilising Chris Wright’s finger-picked twelve-string guitar tuned to open C acting as a perfect balance under the delicately beautiful vocals of Lucy Pringle. Although the strength of the song lies in the telling, producer Steve Byrne (of Malinky) should in many ways be held responsible for discovering this gem from Norway which would stand proudly side by side anything written by Burns or Tannahill.

If an album was ever hinged on one song then for me this would be it but of course there are plenty to choose from by this excellent duo. Without wishing to appear rude the second track (a version of the 22 verse “Lady Maisry”) is also striking for its opening bars with a banjo intro reminiscent of that used on the “Bagpuss” theme before it cleverly turns into double-time driving this dramatic account of love, honour-killing and revenge to its bloody conclusion. However, of all the things I’m most impressed about is how it somehow manages to capture a sense of isolation (listen to “Bramblethorn”) via the inclusion of the reed drone Shruti-Box (I didn’t know what it was either before I checked it up on the web) providing a true feeling of unease. This recording may be stark in its presentation but if you are looking for ways to indulge around an hour of your precious time I couldn’t recommend an album more highly. PETE FYFE

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