Reviews

ChainsChains
Album: Big House
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 4
Website: http://www.chainsunchained.com

Let's simply call them the most exciting mixed folk duo around: Chains. Their members Ben Parker and Kate Aumonier each have got their own musical past and have long found their own vocal and musical shape. So they haven't developed with and at each other but by themselves resp. with other musical partners. Circumstances made them sing together and miraculously their voices mix overwhelmingly well. The unusual mixture of Kates's natural, strong, a little bit nasal vocals that can be really loud and soulful mixed with Ben's soft and warm tone creates this exciting tension when they sing together. It makes you want to listen to them forever. Both of them are undoubtedly experienced experts in using all of their vocal techniques with skilfulness and sensitiveness as well as with great intuition for the right moment to give a bit more or take a bit back. Sometimes she sings lower pitched than him, then they turn around again and all of a sudden you can hear him sing in a nice baritone tone - all in the same song.

At the same time, multi-instrumentalist Parker is an excellent guitar player and plays his instrument with the same warmth and intensity that he sings with and, last but not least, that he writes his songs with. Well, their songs, really, as they write most of them together. The songs on their new 4 track Big House EP are full and opulent and again, they show they have not been created by beginners. Also lyrically, they are complex and ripe as can be. They are about unrequited love, regained hope and forgiveness on a mature and reflected level that virtually can not be written by young talents aged 20 or less…They work with images and leave some space for your own interpretation, like the title track "Big House": You can read it on a literal level and imagine a house with hardly anybody in it after they have left for the big world out there but, on a deeper level, it's also about releasing someone you love.

At the very heart of this beautiful EP is the mix of the two vocals. One can simply not get enough of their wonderful harmonies e.g. in "All up to me", embedded in a gentle guitar accompaniment and embraced by some tender strings. Nothing here is overdone - once more, experience is shining through, lots of producing experience (Ben Parker worked with people like Paolo Nutini, Antony Hegarty and Lucy Rose). In "The Heart" there is just a nice and up beat guitar core, some very slight drumming and a lovely violin line, nothing else. Slow and fast pace rhythms nicely take turns, it's all simple and pure. "Slow burning Fire" does without anything else but Ben's lovely guitar playing and their vocals - even simpler, even purer and just as good. These two really don't need anything else. They should be world famous. They will be.

Dagmar Brudnitzki