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Thursday 23 May 2024

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Unanswered – Ward Knutur & Townes.

Oct 13, 2023

A Covid-enforced remote collaboration between Derbyshire-based Lucy Ward, Iceland’s Svavar Knútur, and Canada’s Adyn Townes, has brought about the release of an 11-track album of gothic folk and acoustic pop, and marks their first release as a trio, and the first release in five years for 2012’s Best Newcomer at the 2012 Radio 2 Folk Awards, Lucy Ward.

To think the minds of three real troubadours and modern folk staples should bring about a record of beautiful folk and twisting melancholy is not a stretch. This record does that, though here and there it needs to balance the three voices and find a sound that is more questing/open. Tracks such as ‘Work It Out’ are gasping for a pop hook to elevate, and instead leave a trail of modern folk that would not sound out of place on a film about teen struggles.

Yet when the record hits the heights, they’re very high and display pure song writing excellence. Taking inspiration from early BC Camplight and various others of the gothic-folk sub-genre, ‘Isn’t It Funny’ evokes such strong emotion lyrically, emotion that undulates through Knútur’s vocal lead as he uses his voice like a composer’s baton. Not only does it stand out lyrically and emotionally, but sonically it has the addition of strings that sit as a constant in the background, the perfect accompaniment to a song full of life’s reality. ‘Isn’t It Funny’ and ‘Aurora’ should be the blueprint for the sound that this recording represents.

Interesting the music reflects a time of isolation that music can move beyond, yet it almost feels right to reflect through melancholia, hopefully they can continue and bring in the brightness on future releases. An album that at its best soars with gentle sadness. Somewhat captivating.

Will Madden



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