A release of quality and depth from the Anglo-Dutch singer and songwriter, her second release following her well received debut Feathers in 2016.
The work is built around four distinct song cycles, each representing a season of the year, and each also released on EP, as part of a boxset. It was recorded with Stephen Hodd of Savage Acoustic at Penfold Cottage Studio and performed mostly by de Ridder and Hodd, with a select group of top flight musicians.
The album is best described as high-quality alt-folk, with lyrical and musical complexity, and de Ridder has a gift for memorable hook, and a pop sensibility infuses the work.
The album opens in spring. 'My dear, Oh boy, Oh man', starts with a gentle acoustic guitar riff, as de Ridder's breathy vocals tell of vulnerability and wistful regret. There is an unhurried feel to the song, the track builds with backing and harmony vocals and piano. Track two 'These Hands' is lead by a piano riff and ghostly vocals into a bluesy guitar riff, then percussion and glockenspiel into the anxious chorus:
'And you can, you can. Build a castle out of sand upon the promise of a handsome man.'
Summer begins with the up-beat folk pop of 'Knowing a Ghost', in one sense a song of loss and regret, but made joyous, a celebration of one woman's conflated strength and vulnerability, a percussive drive, supplemented by Dutch drummer Leon Schmitz. The upbeat theme continues with the metronomic 'Here's the Plan'; a sparse opening fits the number like a glove, before cello (Simon Lewis) raises the stakes and the bass and drums kick in.
The gentle love ballad 'I Would', with mournful, bluesy trombone (George Simmonds), leads us to the mellow fruitfulness of autumn, before 'The Wheel' raises the stakes, Kai Liebrand's bass driving the hypnotic number along.
Winter comes, as it must, and in 'The Seasons Will Change' de Rider sets out her agenda and seeks to resolve many of the musical and emotional questions that she has raised in the work. What a delight also to find a well-constructed album that benefits from listening as a whole.
The album closes with the gentle and reflective 'No Words
...no words can say it…
…so in silence I am here
de Ridder is an accomplished and capable writer, with a maturity of depth to her compositions. UK tour dates for April start in London with a launch event at St Marys Old Church, Stoke Newington on 5th April and the Big Comfy Bookshop (one of the midlands leading acoustic music venues), on the following night. See her website (above) for more details.
Literate, thoughtful and well-constructed, but also a lot of fun. Well worth seeking out
|John Stamp: Franklin 54||Risa Hall: Love Is Telepathic|
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