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Two
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:£13.37+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
`Two' does what it says on the casing and introduces the collaboration of two of the biggest (or certainly best) names in modern folk (erm...mofo?!) on one album, you lucky, lucky things! If you like Kathryn or Neill's previous work you won't be disappointed, there is just the right mix of both of their styles and the combination of their voices and guitar styles is incredibly effective. Occasional melotron or dulcimer adds to the impact of the songs. Maybe `impact' is the wrong word because, like Williams' previous albums, it won't hit you immediately like a chart-bound foot stomper, but herein lies its brilliance because this album will creep up on you and stay in your head and heart like a dear friend. The lyrics are amazing as usual too, with the `ordinary' used as metaphor and highlighting deeper emotions, for instance:

"look at that painting on the hotel wall seen by lonely eyes, don't go into hotels looking for dreams, don't go into them with thoughts of your life" (`Frame') or
"with my big net, I'm catching colours...I used black and white on how you hurt me" (`Grey Goes') or...many, many others!

This album is great, the production really draws out the best of Neill and Kathryn and their combination together is amazing. I'm a big fan of Williams (can you tell?!) and I really love Neill's bluegrass-y tenor harmonies in combination with her voice, for example on Tom Waits' `Innocent when you Dream'.

The first reviewer appears to have bought this album because he likes male/female duos. Well, this in itself isn't necessarily indicative of musical style or genre - for instance if you're looking for Elton John and Kiki Dee then you won't find it here. However, if you like Eddi Reader, Nick Drake or even the mellower side of Be Good Tanyas then this is a good place to start. If you're thinking of buying it just because you like MacColl or Williams' previous work then you're gonna love it!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2008
These two created their musical partnership after a random pairing on a concert bill (2005's Daughters of Albion concert in Cork). There must have been much mutual intuition floating about in the sessions because they sound like they've been playing together for years. Kathryn has said that "the whole experience was the musical equivalent of standing naked in front of the person you love and wanting them to like you." In various sheds and garages (independent artists always say that! But Kathryn wouldn't lie to us, would she?!), they recorded twenty one songs in six days, whittling them down to the thirteen released on this record.

A hushed, homely atmosphere wraps itself around the songs, with Williams and MacColl sharing vocals (although the latter sometimes pales into the background) and guitar-playing. MacColl has added the dulcimer and autoharp and Williams the organ, harmonium and melotron. Suffice to say that it makes for an astoundingly quiet and intimate album - "like warm honey on a summers day" as someone has said. There is a hidden bite to some of the lyrics: "I used black and white on how you hurt me" (Grey Goes) expresses a rare bitterness; and "I'll sweeten you like sugar when the world has been f*#!ing with you" (Armchair) lets a little of the wind of the outside world blow into their introspective, sheltered bubble. Kathryn's lyrical trademark - understated melancholy - is here. On Blue Fields, for example (one of the first songs she wrote, but which never worked alone) she asks, "What am I if not looked at by you? Will I disappear?" and on the final track "One day the days and nights will have meaning / Then I can get my diary out...".
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
As a fan of Kathryn's work over the years, and a follower of Neill's work in The Bible, Liberty Horses and beyond, I can honestly say that this CD combines the best of both worlds. The co-written songs definitely have their own new identity, you don't think "That's Kathryn" or "That's Neill".

It's a great recording, no trickery and hence very real and warm-sounding. If you like the sound of acoustic guitars and close-miked vocals, with a pastoral feel, then this will appeal.

I hope they do another.
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on 17 October 2011
Collaborations can sometimes be a bit gimmicky.There have been many around lately undeserving of the hype they have received.A career relaunch;an attempt to give a new artist a bit of publicity to kick-start theirs.However,this is none of those,thankfully.
What we have before us is a beautifully crafted record from two excellent musicians.Kathryn Williams,a folk singer from Liverpool who released her 8th album last year and Neill MacColl,of the estimable and talented MacColl family, who in recent years has worked with the prolific and excellent David Gray.
The most striking aspect of this record is how well their voices blend throughout.Williams' delicate singing is very seductive and not overpowered by the male voice as can sometimes be the case.MacColl shows he too has more than adequate capabilities as a singer.Neither is the backing singing to the other and this is the strongest aspect of the record for me.The melodies meander beautifully and the instrumentation is exquisite.
A fantastic record if a little short but that is me wanting more of such brilliance.More,please!!
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on 30 April 2010
My first Kathryn Williams CD (and Neil MaColl) and I love it. So melodic and haunting.
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7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I was torn between giving this album 2 or 2.5 stars,
knowing I can't give this one 2.5 so the final rating is 2.

The reason behind my choice is I absolutely adore duet acts
with vocals that completely contrast each other.
You know, like Bryan Adam and Sarah McLachlan in Don't let go the Spirit OST;
or Rod Stewarts and Helicopter Girl with their heart-wrenching Don't come around here;
especially Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan with their highly praised
album by music crits worldwide - Ballard of the Broken Sea.
That album really left me breathless with emotions spanning all over
carried by mellow melodies, moving lyrics and haunting vocal.
Perhaps that's the reason why I couldn't give Two a higher rating.

Kathryn and Neil talents are definitely un-deniable and
their music is also intimate, relaxing and smooth like velvet
but it lacks a stand-out track.
All of the songs just gently flow through my head
without leaving any crave of wanting for more.
Only if there's a high, or even low moment,
it would have been much, much better.

I can only wish them all the best, but really sorry,
this one is not for me.
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