(Sony Music/WTW Music)
It was obvious from the industry album launch show that The Terrific Twins were coming at us with a country-pop set that would likely get them a far wider hearing and more radio interest than they had already garnered. The songs are melodic and catchy, some quite haunting. The big trick now will be to develop this way and still retain the fresh-air country influence and inspiration that brought people like us to them in the first place. There’s always room for quality pop music amidst the barrage of fashionable product flung at us every day on the TV music stations. Just because an act sells well doesn’t mean they are compromising. Crowded House are a good example of a songwriting ensemble that can still play well and not make the same album over and over. I guess I am conscious of The Webb Sisters’ foray into the mainstream which meant listenable songs but a lot less of the quirkiness and originality that first caught my attention.
For these sisters it will be a challenge BUT they have come this far not by fluttering their eyelashes at The Abominable Cowell or featuring on crappy Ibiza-ready dance mix rubbish BUT by relentless gigging as a duo or with an expanded lineup. That’s why we other players respect them..plus they are fun to be with.
Catherine and Lizzy have had at least a hand in writing these songs; collaborators such as Rebekah Powell and Jess Sharman seem to have caught the WT vibe and nurtured it rather than impose alien elements to second-guess the consumers. ‘Carry You Home’ brings a lonesome lead vocal and pained lyric, with a pulsing beat kicking in and a solemn chord sequence running into a definite late Fleetwood Mac stomper that radio is likely to favour.
‘Almost Easy’ has a gorgeous piano sound and mournful string touches and it’s not long before the wonderful harmonies seep in. Emphatic drumming pumps the song along. A good example of where the girls are now soundwise. ‘Material’ has a floating feel over tremelo’d electric piano and fingerclicks. Another strong chorus, maybe the best song here. A real lovestruck lyric. ‘Cartwheels’ is a winner, a real folky beginning and the country core showing through. I could hear Dolly Parton singing this.
‘Guilty Flowers’ is a killer title, we all know what they are…the words are very biter-bit.
‘Lose Me’ is built on a chug of a tempo and used-woman lyric, maybe a tinge of the great Mary Chapin Carpenter. ‘Good On You’ is soft and almost hymnal. It almost sounds as though it was written by eighty-year olds..curious!
‘When It’s Not Me’ is a tad more spirited and perhaps the nearest the duo come to bitchiness in a lyric, I am a little intrigued as to how this one came about. ‘Boomerang’ has a cool edgy pace and we can forgive the somewhat hackneyed lyric as it is sung really well and with a strong melody, a real album highlight and THIS is the one to let the band play out on live, I venture…
‘Dirt & Gold’ sort of stabs at the beat like a hungry dormouse before the solid snare starts up. ‘Where The Sky Is’ gives us a piano ballad with a sweeping ambience that works well.
‘Proof’ treads a delicate path and shows off the voices. ‘Who I’m Not’ whilst a song of sad hue has the deepest lyric here and I tip this as a future fan favourite. It somehow makes me think of winter. Don’t know why. The collection ends with ‘Safe’ which reads like a song of comfort to some kind of victim..of domestic abuse? A refugee? I could be wrong, of course
A tuneful and listenable set, played for maximum impact but not without lighter tender moments. Very heavy on romantic themes and perhaps in need of a few story songs that look outwards, more ? Undoubtedly the stuff of great future performances and they deserve any kudos coming their way.
Ward Thomas’s new album ‘Cartwheels’ is out now on Sony Music/WTW Music.
For band and gig information, head across to www.wardthomasmusic.com