18th November 2015
While Katriona and Jamie both have other musical projects (notably Tiny Tin Lady and Kerfuffle respectively), they’ve performed as a duo for the past 2 years or so, and this debut album really shows them to be one of the UK’s finest young contemporary folk acts. The album is based around the talents of two fantastic musicians; Jamie is an innovative guitarist who not only plays in a distinctive percussive style but amazingly also adds bass and drum parts too. While it would be easy for his obvious skills to take over and be the focus of the duo, Katriona’s fiddle playing moves from delicate to fiery and her vocals are equally striking, and they provide a perfect balance to the overall sound.
The musical virtuosity of Jamie makes the live show unforgettable, and while it’s easy to pick these elements up on the disc, they’ve wisely added a range of other instrumentation to the album including percussion, cello, banjo and piano (which is provided by Jamie’s sister Kathryn), and this instrumental variety gives the album depth and gives each track a distinct sound. What makes this album really stand out is in the quality of the writing for such young artists, of the twelve tracks, nine of them were written by Katriona or Jamie and there are some real highlights, ‘Travelling in Time’ and ‘Susannah’ are the two obvious highlights and they’re both beautifully written and performed songs; ‘So Long’ is the song that demonstrates the versatility of the duo as musicians, and ‘Hunter Man’ would fit seamlessly onto any Equation disc. They are both dazzling musicians, and the whole album is a mixture of their own excellent songs and a couple of contemporary arrangements of traditional songs, and this mix gives the album a good pace and variety – in fact there’s very little not to like across the entire album, and ‘Shadows and Half Light’ represents one of the finest contemporary folk albums in recent memory. Unreservedly recommended.