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13 Reviews
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75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant debut, 10 Feb 2005
By 
Mr. Geoffrey M. Teece "gmteece2" (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
Although Karine Polwart has been around in groups like the Battlefied Band and Malinkey, this is her first solo album. It's brilliant.The quality of all the songs, all self-penned, is remarkably high from the up beat 'Four Strong Walls' the jazzy opener 'Only One Way', the beautiful folky, 'Faultlines' and 'Waterlily' to the murder ballad 'Azalea Flower' The instrumentation is rich and imaginative; for example a fairly ordinary opening to 'Skater on the Surface' is transformed by brilliant brass. There is not a weak moment on the record. It is the finest album by a woman singer that I have heard for ages. It should be a classic, the blending of styles is superb. I can't recommend this too highly.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Album I wish I had made, 13 April 2006
By 
F. M. Gorman "fi fiona" (buckinghamshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
This album left me spellbound and uncharacteristically singing in the office. It has lots of superbly stuctured songs and is brilliantly compiled so that the tone, timbre and tempo change never leaving you bored. The lyrics are evocative without being bluesey. " I was always impressed by how Lassie could tell, the good guys from bad guys just by their smell.."

The themes of the songs are sometimes dark, sometimes funny and always brilliant.

OOOH I wish I had written one line of one of these beautiful songs.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful surprise, 26 Sep 2005
By 
amboline (York, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
In an era where most worthy musical acts announce their arrival on the scene with a fanfare and a flourish, this album managed to sneak up on me like a gentle little surprise. Even in the less commercially enslaved world of the folk-influenced singer-songwriter, there are still a plethora of artists who owe their success as much to image and marketing as they do to their art (Katie Melua, Cara Dillon and Kate Rusby spring immediately to mind). Karine Polwart, by contrast, seems to have gone from obscurity to 2005 Radio 2 Folk Award multi-winner by dint of nothing more than her own hard work and charm. On the strength of her first solo effort, the awards are entirely deserved.
Karine is one of those rare artists who can tackle really dark subject matter with a combination of almost girlish naivety and wonderfully quirky good humour. The album is a 50:50 mix of ballads which in other artists' hands would be enough to depress the socks off you, and tongue in cheek, lilting reflections on the foibles of humankind which simply can't fail to raise a smile. The album opener, "Only One Way", is one of the jauntiest pieces of guitar-pop you'll hear all year, and "Four Strong Walls" positively sparkles with life-affirming laughter; yet Karine manages to move from these uptempo tracks to melancholy musings on abandonment and depression (the exquisite "The Sun's Coming Over the Hill"), bereavement (the heart-rending "Waterlily") and murder in suburbia ("Azalea Flower") with butterfly-like ease. There is subtle social commentary in a few of the songs (from the back-handed compliment to Bush and Blair in "Only One Way" to the reflection on the human tragedy of the Bosnian war in "Waterlily") but this is never the raison d'etre for the songs, and often it's done so subtly that you only become aware of it after repeated listening. Meanwhile, lyrics like "You put me back together again just like the trick with the saw and the lady", "I always wondered how Lassie could tell the good guys from bad guys just by their smell" and "If it's true that ignorance is bliss then you must be coming all the time" display a wicked sense of humour and a sharp eye for human nature which, if anything, only promise even greater things to come.
It must also be said that Karine Polwart is a wonderfully gifted singer with an enchanting voice, that's equally at home with a solo acoustic guitar or a full band accompanying her. She is also one of the most charming live performers I've seen in recent years.
To sum up: so far this has been THE album of 2005 for me. A wonderful, unexpected discovery, and one that deserves to grow in many people's hearts.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply sublime, 12 April 2006
By 
Chipstick (Buckinghamshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
I discovered Karine Polwart quite recently and have been blown away by the beauty of this album. Her rich voice, gorgeous and thought provoking lyrics, and uplifting melodies all combine for a little piece of music heaven! If you have enjoyed KT Tunstall for her celtic influences, there is a good chance you might like this too for the same reasons.

Her follow-up album has just come out and I will certainly be buying it. This lady deserves to be incredibly successful. It's a gorgeous, inspiring and wonderful piece of work!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty faultless Faultlines, 8 Mar 2005
By 
A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
Karine Polwart has produce an excellent debut album, not quite without flaws but excellent anyway. She writes all her own material - a rare thing these days, and apart from the quality of the performances with her clear, elegant voice, many of the songs would be prime candidates for singers like Mary Black and Nanci Griffith to add to their repertoire. She does not shy away from difficult subjects, not least murder and death, but also covers the more usual themes of love and longing. I would say that the title track, "Faultlines" is excellent, along with The Sun's Coming Over the Hill, Waterlily, and The Light on the Shore. Some of the others are a bit variable (Skater on the Surface, Harder to Walk These Days Than Run) but it would be a rare CD that did not have some variation in quality and possible the less impressive songs only seem so because of the excellence of some of the others.
My reason for only giving four stars rather than five is that I think some of the unity of the album is spoiled by the way the usual folk/acoustic tracks are interspersed with those described as "Canada Mix", which have a rock backing. I've no problems with this as such but the band is not actually very good and often sounds like a studio of inspired amateurs, as shown by the corny baseline on Azalea Flower which dominates the whole track, or the lead guitar on Resolution Road which is a little U2-ish in sound but without the skill and inventiveness. Steven Polwart's acoustic guitar and Corrina Hewat's electric harp on the Castlesound Studio tracks far outweigh the more plodding backing of the Canada Mixed tracks.
Having said that, I would highly recommend this album. Some of the tracks are outstanding and justify the cost of the whole album in themselves.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., 30 May 2005
By 
John Sheehan (Prestwich, Manchester United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
Having only just started to get into this type of music, (through my wife) I find that so far this is the best album I have heard. I took my wife to see Eddie Reeder and Karina was the support, She was brilliant. Can't wait for the next album.
Well worth the money.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Debut Album, 9 Feb 2007
By 
A. J. Rabet "Rabs" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
This debut album is a real surprise as it is not only a folk album but has a lot of other influences such as Jazz in "Only One Way" and "Harder to Walk these days than run"

Other tracks are more poppy and have American influences such Alanis Morissette

In particular "Four Strong Walls"

Other tracks are more folky in the original sense of the word but none descend to the point of becoming archetypal Scottish or Celtic folk (not one mention of slaughtering English on the album). In none of the tracks does she over do the use of traditional instruments such as the fiddle.

A very strong debut by an artist whose further releases I shall look forward to.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 20 May 2014
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This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
This is a really classic album with some lovely songs with an artists with a great voice and really good musicians supporting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend, 14 April 2014
By 
Mrs. J. Pattinson "janny" (durham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
Lovely voice interesting the subjects Karine writes lyrics about. Best find in quite a while. Now have three of her CD's will watch out for further additions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Faultlines, 10 May 2013
By 
A. J. Edwards (Berkshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Faultlines (Audio CD)
Great but older CD. It's great but prefer here newer stuff like 'Traces'. KP has really developed these past years.
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Faultlines by Karine Polwart (Audio CD - 2004)
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