Reviews

McNeill & HeysMcNeill & Heys
Album: Any Other Morning
Label: Transition
Tracks: 8
Website: http://www.jackandcharliemusic.co.uk

As (Jack) McNeill and (Charlie) Heys point out in the booklet that accompanies "Any Other Morning", the duo's third album, our view of a landscape often varies depending on the weather, a point they emphasise by having the booklet fold out into an expanse of land and sky, one that brings out the majesty of nature.

The landscape that inspires and informs the duo, just happens to be the Lake District a part of the country that can be both beautiful and threatening, sometimes at the same time. It's an area that really does emphasise light and shade, especially with the sun and clouds in the right place, the slow reveal or the fast hiding of what had previously been obvious. It's also an area that has managed to retain not only an identity, but its traditions and vernacular.

It also serves as a fantastic metaphor for both McNeill & Heys, but, more importantly, also for the album that they have created. For example, there are a couple of seven minute plus songs on the album, the sort of songs that allow the duo to really explore, both texture and instrumentation as well as to slowly and subtly build the narrative. By way of contrast there are also two songs/tunes coming in at under two minutes, necessitating a more direct approach, both sit well within the soundscape of "Any Other Morning".

The album is unashamedly folk, it doesn't need to be anything else. It's vibrant, full of life, but it also takes time to reflect, time to absorb its own thoughts. There are times when it almost feels blue, in that meditive, contemplating way, rather than by sound. Both voice and instrumentation are top draw, so it's an album that really pushes the right buttons and well worth checking out.

Neil King