“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”…so said Sir Walter Scott. And indeed, the web that sisters Charley and Hattie use to spread their wordy songs can indeed tangle their audience in knots but in such a refreshing way that we can easily dismiss any minor transgressions. Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon the opening track “Baroque Thoughts” with its harp and vocal sounds as if it was lifted straight from a Kate Bush track (although I can’t quite put my finger on it as to which one it was) and emerges delicately to flutter away without a care in the world. This is ‘proper’ grown up music and under the watchful eye of producer Peter Asher it has to be said it will more than likely wind up being my album of the year. OK, I know I can get caught up in the beauty of it all but the combination of engrossing lyrics wrapped tastefully in strategically placed musical arrangements I defy anyone not to get emotionally involved. Crossing genres into the ‘country’ flavoured “Burn” broadens the girls appeal even further and as for using the introduction by “Mr Thirty-Stories” himself (Leonard Cohen) on the girls cover of “If It Be Your Will” is a master stroke. By the way, that little transgression I mentioned…why do you have to come across as being all “Essex” when you’re obviously not (they’re in fact from Kent) if you get my drift? In many ways the lyrics wind up sounding somewhat sleazy or at best a little ‘cheap’ and I suppose if that’s your thing, trying to be like Lily Allen might be a marketing man’s dream but could well bite you on the bum further down the line. That aside, this really is an outstanding recording and should be high on your list of ‘must haves’.


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