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Teddy Thompson & Kelly JonesTeddy Thompson & Kelly Jones
Album: Little Windows
Label: Cooking Vinyl
Tracks: 10

This high-profile collaboration has been touted as a made-in-heaven project, a teaming that's vocally reminiscent of Emmylou and Gram. Whoa there! That's way too extravagant a claim, I'm afraid. For what we get here is the pair clearly enjoying themselves on a set of ten brand-new original songs that are equally clearly inspired by the classic pop-country-romance songs of the likes of Buddy Holly, the Everlys, Rick Nelson et al. - compositions that could well have come from obscure B-sides or album cuts from those artists or their less-heralded contemporaries.

Fluffy, companionable, innocuous confections, with all the ready tunefulness and innocent charm of those days of yore, but if truth be told, rather short on memorability or catchy hooks. Pleasing enough to listen through, but hardly the stuff of legend or stunningly special although lovingly enough conceived and executed. One gets the feeling that the Teddy'n'Kelly approach is more than a touch formulaic, so that when the pattern varies it comes as a pleasant surprise; moreover, one gets the feeling that more could be made of songs like I Thought That We Said Goodbye and You Took My Future by another artist (although these have been the tracks that have mildly stood out after a few plays).

I was also surprised to discover that the record's executive producer is Linda Thompson, and that the backing band (which includes Pete Thomas, Steve Elliot and Davey Farragher) is so reticent and obedient. Sure, there are some neat licks here and there, and the overall tone feels right, but after all it's Teddy and Kelly who are the advertised stars of the show, yet it all feels more routine than it should somehow, even at times a little precious. Even so, it sounds real, it was made to sound classic, and yet the majority of the material doesn't stick in the memory as it should. Maybe I'm spoilt by history, but I found myself yearning for something more substantial.

Nevertheless, it's hard not to like this affectionate little set, even if it's not destined for the eternal jukebox. Finally, Little Windows is a mini-album (oh, curse that trendy new format!) - and thus clocks in at a disappointing mere 25 minutes.

David Kidman