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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 7 June 2012
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"...so said Sir Walter Scott. And indeed, the web that sisters Charley and Hattie use to spread their wordy songs can indeed tangle their audience in knots but in such a refreshing way that we can easily dismiss any minor transgressions. Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon the opening track "Baroque Thoughts" with its harp and vocal sounds as if it was lifted straight from a Kate Bush track (although I can't quite put my finger on it as to which one it was) and emerges delicately to flutter away without a care in the world. This is `proper' grown up music and under the watchful eye of producer Peter Asher it has to be said it will more than likely wind up being my album of the year. OK, I know I can get caught up in the beauty of it all but the combination of engrossing lyrics wrapped tastefully in strategically placed musical arrangements I defy anyone not to get emotionally involved. Crossing genres into the `country' flavoured "Burn" broadens the girls appeal even further and as for using the introduction by "Mr Thirty-Stories" himself (Leonard Cohen) on the girls cover of "If It Be Your Will" is a master stroke. By the way, that little transgression I mentioned...why do you have to come across as being all "Essex" when you're obviously not (they're in fact from Kent) if you get my drift? In many ways the lyrics wind up sounding somewhat sleazy or at best a little `cheap' and I suppose if that's your thing, trying to be like Lily Allen might be a marketing man's dream but could well bite you on the bum further down the line. That aside, this really is an outstanding recording and should be high on your list of `must haves'.

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on 14 May 2011
This is the most original album I've heard in ages.

I was drawn to this recording having heard of the Webb Sisters through their work on the Leonard Cohen tour over the last couple of years, so I was aware of the quality of their voices and their harmonising abilities. What I wasn't prepared for, though, was the sheer quality of the songs on this offering and the scope,depth and originality which just shines through. From the gentle opening of Baroque Thoughts through the driving rhythms of Savages and Burn, the jazz-tinted Amelie's Smile to the simply exquisite, perfect closing Goodnight Song, there's barely a note on the whole thing which doesn't please. Lyrically too, there are some pleasing twists: "I won't let the vampires get close enough to bite" in a lullaby might seem out of place but it isn't - it's just an example, and there are surprises like this all over the place. In short, it keeps your attention and leaves you wanting another listen, which when you get right down to it is what it's all about really.

The only track I find even vaguely out of context is the live recording from the Cohen O2 show "If It Be Your Will", which although excellent in its own right, just disturbs the overall "flow" a wee bit, I find: I can see why it's included, of course, but perhaps it might have sat better as a bonus track rather than in the middle.

But that's splitting hairs, really. This recording is an absolute pleasure to hear and a credit to Hattie and Charlie, it's my favourite of the year and for any reader who fancies a listen to some beautifully recorded original music which won't burn your eardrums and leave you wanting a little bit more, I'd thoroughly recommend it.
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on 14 May 2011
"Love...hate...oh what a fine line we walk" sing the Webb Sisters, as Hattie gently plucks her harp strings. The scene is set for a sequence of songs about separation and troubled relationships, that also have a healing quality (Leonard Cohen devotees - this is our world!). The third album is always a crucial one, but Charley and Hattie Webb need have no worries; they've created a classic.

An outstanding sequence of songs opens the album - namely, "Baroque Thoughts", "Calling This a Life", "Words That Mobilise" and "Savages". The breaks between the songs are minimal, adding to a building momentum. The Webb Sisters previous album, "Daylight Crossing" was a fine piece of work with excellent harmonising and harp playing. However, the quality and variety of the songs on "Savages" raises Charley and Hattie's artistic profile to a whole new level. The songs reveal a great depth of feeling, and showcase the full spectrum of their lyrical, vocal, and musical skills.

The album is produced by the legendary Peter Asher, who also plays guitar. Other notable musicians featured include Roscoe Beck, Russ Kunkel, and Leland Sklar. Eight of the tracks on the album are from the sisters two limited-edition four-track CDs, and now have the advantage of being available for a much-wider audience. If I had to pick one track as a potential single, it would be the mesmerising and beautifully-arranged "Words That Mobilise".

At the centre of the album are three inventive new tracks - the acapella "Dark Sky", a driving country-rocker "Burn" and a more-subtle grower, "Amelie's Smile". The remainder of the album includes the sublime "If it Be Your Will" (with Leonard Cohen's spoken introduction), the moving "In Your Father's Eyes" and the anthemic "1000 Stars". There is also a haunting bonus track, "Yours Truly". This album deserves to be a huge success, and may well become the best-selling album by any of Leonard Cohen's female accompanists. Five stars? More like 1000 stars!
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on 8 June 2011
Ever since the Leonard Cohen concert I have been looking forward to the sisters own music album - it was worth the wait! Great songwriting, musicianship and of course great harmonies. Lots of original material but including a spine tingling rendition of Cohen's "If it be your will" from the live concert recording. Awesome!
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on 28 October 2013
I bought this after seeing the Webb Sisters perform with Leonard Cohen at the O2 Arena. Their rendition of Come Healing on that occasion was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever heard. (Sadly that is not on this album.) Savages is an exquisite CD. Everything is perfect. The backing music, the harmony, the voices - there's very little to criticise. My only concern is the standard of song writing. It's solid but, well, it could be better. Don't get me wrong, there are some very attractive melodies, and some clever words, but I kept waiting for something that had the magic of Leonard Cohen and it wasn't there. I know it's unfair to expect the girls to reach the standard of the master so early in their careers, but I was hopeful that they might get closer with this album. All in all, though, it's a great buy and well worth a listen. And the Webb Sisters, to quote LC, are undoubtedly sublime.
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on 16 November 2013
Don't know what it is about this album but it pulls me back to listen to Charley and Hattie time and time again and the more I listen the more enjoyable it gets.I am surprised that it hasn't had more exposure because yes the vocal harmonies are of course a delight but the song writing is really undervalued and there are some real gems on here.Well worth buying and it does grow on you.
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on 29 March 2014
I saw the Webb Sisters perform live at the Glee club Birmingham this Wednesday gone .... 26th March '14 ... what a captivating performance. Their personalities are truly moreish. This showcased their vocal harmonies/ quality songs and musicianship (guitar /harp /mandolin) and their self effacing humour. The harmonies equal the Everly brothers at their very best... and believe me , THAT is saying something. Their closeness comes through beautifully , the sister thing adds to the whole presentation of the show. They featured songs from this SAVAGES album and the e.p. I particularly loved Missing Person but here were no low points in the entire evening's entertainment. The support slot was Sam Semple who has an album out on Proper Records (same label as this) . His songs were well crafted and thought provoking, sung with his guitar as accompaniment, a fine talent. All in all a great night , and thanks must go to Mr. Cohen without whom I would be completely unaware of the Webbs I salute you Sir. Check them out, you will be glad you took the opportunity.
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on 18 May 2011
I first heard about the Webb Sisters on BBC Radio 4. The interview was followed by the song "Baroque Thoughts". I instantly said to myself "I've got to have it". I didn't think the album "Savages" would mesmerize me. It did. It's a deeply emotional music; flowing out of real emotions. Delicate melodies and lyrics that make you want to stop the time and re-think your relationships with people and your surroundings. An album for those with open hearts and passion for music. (And an extra message of love from Leonard Cohen).
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on 26 March 2014
This was the album that introduced me to The Webb Sisters It initially came to my attention, because of their interpretation and recording of Cohen's "If It Be Your Will" - which I've always loved. However when I listened to clips of other tracks, like: "Baroque Thoughts";" Call This A Life"; "In Your Father's Eyes" and "Goodnight Song" - I fell in love with the whole album and purchased it right away.

It's still a favourite album of mine, some two years after purchase. Friends used to tell me how great The Webb Sisters were; now I know exactly what they're talking about!! This album is the perfect introduction, to the work of Hattie and Charley Webb.
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on 10 December 2012
Heard them singing on Women's Hour and was blown away by their voices. Was initially slightly disappointed by the tracks on this CD, but the more I listened to it the more I've grown to like it.
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