- Audio CD (21 July 2014)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Secretly Canadian
- ASIN: B00JB0A3KW
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,179 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Woman's Hour are not your average band. The first clue comes in the name of the London-based swoon-pop four-piece, taken from a beloved female-focussed news and culture show on BBC Radio 4. The second is in their graphic, striking monochrome visuals, meticulously curated in collaboration with TATE and MOMA certified fine artists Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg. These play with shape and texture, much like their powerful, iridescent music. On their excellent debut album 'Conversations', this has the intricate construction and intimacy of The xx and the iridescent shimmer of summer-defining indie pop. Pay attention now, or regret it later.
Top customer reviews
to Fiona Burgess and her brother Will's gentle vision. I didn't quite
swoon listening to it but there were moments when I did feel a bit
warm and fluffy in a good way. 'Conversations' is the musical equivalent
to getting a big hug from a close friend you haven't seen for a while.
There are eleven songs in the set. Mellow; well-constructed; tuneful
and blessed with some memorable choruses and strong vocal harmonies.
The ensemble's sound owes perhaps more to the the spirit of Sade and
Swing Out Sister (remember them?) as it does to more contemporary
outfits such as The xx with whom they appear to be being compared.
This has much to do with the smooth, laconic quality of Ms Burgess's
captivating voice. It is a very affecting instrument and her calm,
effortless performances are the true heart and soul of the work.
Highlights would have to include opening track 'Unbroken Silence', a
pretty song which unfolds slowly against a backdrop of gently chugging
synth and a crisp foursquare beat; 'In Stillness We Remain', which
shimmers like the sun caressing the waves on an ocean horizon and
the simply beautiful 'Out Love Has No Rhythm' whose haunting melody
lingers in our memory long after the final bars have faded like a dream.
A fine first foray into The Listening World. Woman's Hour may well be built to last.
'Unbroken Sequence' a chugging compelling synth rhythm as gentle vocals soothes the heart & is a fine start "would it be better for you".
'Conversations' continues majestically "but we won't share with anyone else"....really quite beautiful.
'To The End' a great vibe via Fiona's mellow fresh voice "take everything you know & go with me to the end" really pretty electronica chill sounds containing a delicate control & a lovely feel on what are seemingly quite simple ideas.
'Darkest Place' gentle electro percussion dominated & more brilliance "Wherever I look, you’re always there, I close my eyes and it seems the worst" & love the way that it stops & then strides on into the brilliant instrumental fadeout.
'In Stillness We Remain' fine delicate guitar riffing which fits into this swirling ethereal gentleness "take me I will follow".
'Love Has No Rhythm' the brilliant idea of marrying Sade with Daughter to a chill groove with lyrics & beats juxtaposed nicely to a gorgeous velvet vocal with an added falsetto = perfection.
'Her Ghost' supreme beauty "i've got nothing to say to her ghost hoping she'll fade away" via heart-warming vocals - a soundscape of soft electronic textures & a demonstration of power through restraint.
'Two Sides Of You' original guitar sounds & is achingly subtle & breathtakingly beautiful.
'Devotion' seems like a fast start then plunges into a gentle guitar dominated picking delight & is one of the strongest numbers here "when the day gets demanding & it feels like I'm drowning"...certainly in the land of the pretty & extraordinary.
'Reflections' some Beach House influences & minimalism that springs into life via perfect keyboard patterns "staring into the stillness".
'The Day That Needs Defending' synth patterns that reminds of Chvrches...epic with a rousing repetitive refrain.
Sure it is dreamy melodic indie pop but here they demonstrate that they have carved out their own niche in this domain with not a dud track in sight. Reviews have been fairly lukewarm (Mojo 2/5 Uncut 7/10 though NME did give 8/10) but forget these because this is beautiful brilliance. [LP is lovely white vinyl with enigmatic cover art & an mp3 download]
The songs are strong, the lyrics kind of sixth-form charming and the blend of synths and subtle guitar arpeggios and tremolo (think Interpol's guitars under a snuggly duvet) works well and pushes the band way beyond the lazy The XX comparisons, Woman's Hour are far warmer and more giving than that (the rather austere artwork doesn't help - should have had a picture of the band down the pub).
A fantastic debut, I wish all bands were this open and giving.