Release Date: 23rd November 2018
When I was a teenager, my school forced me to do an after-school activity with a choice between first-aid, citizenship and typing – I chose typing for the girls and the not having to do CPR on plastic dolls. Handily, I learned to touch type which has proved particularly useful when reviewing this album by the imperious Hollie Haines as her music is best enjoyed with your head reclined and eyes closed.
The album gets underway with ‘Except For You’ and this is the point to start your gentle descent in to relaxation and bliss. Soothing strings and deftly plucked guitar notes roll in like the evening light as you draw the curtains and Haines’ sweet, pure voice wafts in on the cool air to fill your weary lungs. The low bass notes bring warmth and the folky overtones are pitched in the Wildwood Kin meets Sound of the Sirens area. ‘Like I Used To’ features a wistful violin line that slithers and slides but a more direct vocal performance that has a Kate Rusby quality to it while the instrumentation is more in the Harbottle & Jonas vein.
‘All You Did’ continues on the celtic folk path with a steady, thudding beat urging the guitar and violin forward while Haines sprinkles golden droplets of her voice across the melodious landscape. Taking to the piano, ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ switches in to a soulful lament of Beverly Craven proportions while ‘I Got Through, Babe’ ripples and bubbles in to life like a Spring morning emerging from the night with new hope, optimism and potential.
The most mainstream track on the album is perhaps ‘Better’, featuring an electric guitar melody and the kind of upbeat strum you’d expect from KT Tunstall or Paolo Nutini – not to machine some gorgeous lap steel work. Closing out with ‘Mine’, Haines returns to the soothing theme with Cello and guitar intertwining like expressive dancers wrapped around one another. Hollie Haines proves with this album that true artistry comes with time and care rather than dance moves or dry humping the furniture. This is sublime stuff and, once I’ve deleted all the typos from this review, I’ll be glad to share it with you.