|Woman’s Hour — Conversations (2014)|
Woman’s Hour — Conversations
ι≡ι Je to příběh, který láká a nakonec přitáhne posluchače od začátku do konce. Zcela neokázalá lidskost, které je jak poetická, tak uzemňující zároveň. Tipped foursome delivers an inviting debut... Conversations zřejmě není nejlepší letošní album, co jste slyšeli. Je však působivé, v mnoha ohledech jedinečné v současné topografii evropského popu — i když mám pocit, že lepší může ještě přijít. Bez větší námahy předkládá krásný a komplexní soubor emocí, i když je příjemný spíše konvenčností, než originalitou. Pro debutové album je to sakra začátek. Kapela intenzivně pracovala s producentem Tomem Murrayem na vyladění své estetické, čisté linie bez úletů a bohémských manýrů, syntetizují zde hodně z posledního půl desetiletí. Jejich moodem je zasněná, prostě melodická pop music. Mnoho snadno identifikovatelných vlivů kapely jsou jejich kolegové z ostrovů: the grayscale glamour of Bat for Lashes, Jessie Ware’s cool, mannered tone, and the minimal romanticism of the xx., Beach House, Lightning Dust, Saint Etienne, ...etc. Aby se stala skutečně velkou kapelou, bude muset zahodit stereotypy a přijít s výrazným vybočením, na což má předpoklady. A možná, že pak to bude příběh, inspirován názvem alba — fans budou cítit potřebu zapojit se do konverzace s nimi. Když budete poslouchat každou píseň pečlivě a zaměříte se na nuance, které nejsou okamžitě rozeznatelné, pak zcela jistě zhodnotíte celý jejich lehce skrytý zvukový svět s výsledným benefitem po bližším zkoumání.
Location: Kendal, London, UK
Album release: July 15, 2014
Record Label: Secretly Canadian
01 Unbroken Sequence 3:33
02 Conversations 3:21
03 To the End 4:29
04 Darkest Place 4:07
05 In Stillness We Remain 3:39
06 Our Love Has No Rhythm 4:28
07 Her Ghost 3:13
08 Two Sides of You 3:35
09 Devotion 4:24
10 Reflections 3:46
11 The Day That Needs Defending 3:32
℗ 2014 Secretly Canadian
ι≡ι Fiona Jane Burgess (vocals)
ι≡ι William Burgess (guitar)
ι≡ι Nicolas Graves (bass)
ι≡ι Mancunian Josh Hunnisett (keyboards)
BY PAUL BRIDGEWATER | 11 JULY 2014 | 11:30 BST | SCORE: 10/10
♦≡♦ There’s a relatively simplistic formula at work on the debut long-player from Woman’s Hour, but it’s executed with finesse, sensitivity and a richly opaque narrative that allures and ultimately binds the listener from start to finish.
♦≡♦ The band’s longer-than-average gestation period is revealed to be something of an asset: it’s three years since their first tracks dropped, time they’ve used to tighten up and refine an early DIY twee into an emotive pull and weld lo-fi arrangements into a self-aware and finely layered musicality. Their innate style doesn’t feel forced, instead extending organically across the eleven tracks that make up Conversations.
♦≡♦ Of course the release-and-restrain of “Darkest Place”, “To The End” and “Her Ghost” was always going to be a major motif on the album, but it’s anything but overused. The tracks that bookend the record (“Unbroken Sequence” and “The Day That Needs Defending”) see an impressive movement forward in their songwriting that keeps the entire record fresh, despite us having heard around a third of it over the last eighteen months. The band haven’t succumbed to any noticeable weariness — there’s a jubilant spark that moves through layer after layer of musical gossamer. The affecting “In Stillness We Remain” and pristine second act closer “Two Sides of You” find a total harmony between their minimal arrangements and singer Fiona Jane’s defining vocal.
♦≡♦ The test of the record is ultimately an emotive one thoug,h and Conversations succeeds in capturing — entirely unpretentiously — a humanity that’s both poetic and grounded. Perhaps that’s the highest compliment one can ever give to an album. It’s simply astounding that they’ve pulled it of so perfectly, without a trace of lull.
By Larry Day | 08 July 2014 | Score: 9/10
Review by Tim Sendra; Score: ***½
♦≡♦ Conversations, the debut album by the London-based quartet Woman's Hour, is 42 well-crafted minutes of sophisticated modern pop that fits somewhere between the spare beauty of the xx and the glittering pop of Chvrches. The group concocts a smoothly atmospheric sound that's built around swooning synths, clipped rhythms, and muted guitars, with a pronounced new wave influence, but also adding some nocturnal R&B and silky soft disco for good measure. Vocalist Fiona Burgess is the star of the show; she possesses a rich and relaxed voice that entices listeners with its calm beauty. ♦≡♦ Bassist Nicolas Graves makes a strong showing too, providing melodic underpinning to the hazier tracks and a subtle groove to those with some bounce. ♦≡♦ William Burgess' guitar work is also excellent, adding a little sparkly jangle to some tracks and hypnotic patterns to others. The sound they get is familiar, yet it sounds fresh in their hands. The subtle variations in the arrangements from song to song help with that; so does the tenderness inherent in Burgess' vocals. Most importantly, the bandmembers write some very pretty songs that have some real emotional impact. Slow and sad songs like "Unbroken Sequence" and "Two Sides of You" feel like there were definitely some tears shed somewhere in the writing process, "Devotion" has a heart-stoppingly bruised core that bursts free during the instrumental breakdown, and on "To the End" Burgess strips her defenses away and delivers her most powerful vocal performance. The songs that up the tempo and energy a bit add some nice dynamics to the album, and are more suited to radio play. Best of the lot is the title track, which ambles along like a Sade single, only with less jazz and more chillwave. The synth poppiest track on the album, "The Day That Needs Defending," shows another direction the band could go in with its tribal drums and big chorus. Conversations ends up a fine debut from the band, tightly focused and carefully constructed but still filled with plenty of understated heart. (Allmusic.com)
ROBIN MURRAY | 18 · 07 · 2014 | SCORE: 7/10
♦≡♦ Tipped foursome delivers an inviting debut...
♦≡♦ Let’s get this out the way first: ‘Conversations’ probably isn’t the best album you’ve heard all year.
♦≡♦ It’s an album with flaws, with odd moments of misconception. But alongside this, it’s the rare sound of a band, namely Woman’s Hour, making good on the hype, justifying the relentless (primarily digital) exposure that has followed them for 12 months.
♦≡♦ ‘Conversations’ is a pop record, that much we can say. The melodies are built for consumption, for being chewed over, tasted thoroughly and swallowed. Opener ‘Unbroken Sequence’ is built around a gorgeous sense of longing, while vocalist Fiona Jane Burgess allows ‘Her Ghost’ to transform parting into such sweet sorrow.
♦≡♦ It’s an inviting sound, with the electronics — clipped, clinical as they are — always retaining a humane edge. ‘Darkest Place’ opens with ambience, before crackling into percussive clicks with a funky, machine-driven sense of soul. The butterfly synths at the opening of ‘In Stillness We Remain’ set the tone in seconds, effortlessly establishing a beautiful complex set of emotions.
♦≡♦ As good as it is, ‘Conversations’ is not perfect. Affecting though she is, Burgess is still finding and refining her voice, with ‘Reflections’, for example, falling somewhat flat. ♦≡♦ Closer ‘The Day That Needs Defending’ feels awkward, a rather unsatisfying climax for an album that thrives on being able to sustain stunningly fulfilled emotion.
♦≡♦ But that’s to dwell upon the negative. Arriving at the fringe of 2014 in a flurry of high-profile tips charts, listicles and other such media intrusions, Woman’s Hour have quietly gone about focussing on their own striking vision. ‘Conversations’ is an impressive album, in many ways a unique one in this current landscape — though you sense that the best may be yet to come. (http://www.clashmusic.com/)
By Jamieson Cox | July 15, 2014 | Score: 6.3
BY CHRISTINA SALGADOON | JULY 16, 2014, 6:01AM | Score: B-
By Chris Danks
By Lizzie Plaugic | July 22, 2014
By Graeme Marsh | posted on 14 Jul 2014 | Score: ***
By mxdwn.com | July 16th, 2014
Tom McMinigal, Dots & Dashes | Score: ***
Paul Lester | theguardian.com, Friday 2 December 2011 17.12 GMT
Press: Online : Will Grant — firstname.lastname@example.org Press : James Smyllie — email@example.com
Agent: UK : Liam Keightley — firstname.lastname@example.org North America : email@example.com
♦≡♦ Sounding like a Saint Etienne for a more subdued, post-xx world, London electropop group Woman's Hour formed in 2011. With siblings Fiona and Will Burgess as the founders, the duo recorded a series of demos named after BBC 4 radio programs. By the time they recruited members Josh Hunnisett and Nicolas Graves, the demo dubbed Woman's Hour graduated to the band's name, while the concept of delivering a complete package — a unified aesthetic for their music, videos, record sleeves, gig posters, and so on — had taken hold. They officially launched at the end of 2011 with the double A-side single featuring "Jenni" and "Human," but their signature sound of synths and subtlety was better displayed by their 2013 single "To the End." Released by Parlour Records, the single's sleeve featured the stark black-and-white photography of Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, a creative collaboration that would continue as the band signed with the Secretly Canadian label and released the single "Her Ghost" in 2014. Broomberg and Chanarin handled both the single's sleeve and accompanying video and designed the cover of the group's debut album, Conversations, also released in 2014.
|Woman’s Hour — Conversations (2014)|