Experimental folk cum Americana duo Changing Horses after gaining praise for playing live, sometimes as support for such touring acts as Pat Sansone (Wilco), Ade Edmondson, Jeffrey Lewis and Adam Green the UK act headed across to Nashville. To record at the studio and home of producer and session man, Chris Donohue (Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Brigitte DeMeyer) who also lends his expertise on mandolin, electric, acoustic bass and keyboards to the mini-project.
With all songs written by Richard Birtill (acoustic, electric guitar, vocals) who alongside Francesca Cullen (mandolin, violin, acoustic guitar, ukulele, melodeon) make up the fledgling duo the 6-track EP has an organic, homemade quality to it. Birtills’ prodding lead vocals place much creative flair and a feel they are testing the water in a number of fields to see which suits and works out best. On one or two occasions I was prompted to think they were an incarnation of 1970s pop with a folk base, akin to David Bowie and Marc Bolam picking up a mandolin and going folk!
So consistent is the music selecting the best is no easy task, but I will try to do them justice in suggesting the one I would place top of the list ‘I Don’t Need It’. Containing superb harmony vocals it is shadowed by the hugely innovative ‘Cut All Strings’ —that contains an infectious rhythm as strings, mandolin, guitars (Stephen Leiweke) as a modern day feel takes root. This is where Birtill pleads for someone to take her to New York and of her playing like a child and screaming at the top of her lungs. Of a psychedelic feel there is ‘Tom Brown School Days’ that strays more towards pop. This is as some wild drumming (Ken Lewis) pounds out a message of unrest and of a fire burning in ‘her’ soul. Of an even more tortured and quirky feel, lyrically the album closes with ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ as violin is added to help capture a feel of desperation. Strange though the lyrics are it works out fine. As do most cuts in a quirky kind of way. File under; experimental, eclectic folk.
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