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Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future IslandsWoman’s Hour


Secretly Canadian

Jul 14, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands Bookmark and Share

Rarely do bands pull off such a marriage of sound and visuals that it’s this hard to separate the music from their graphic palette. Gorillaz are probably the most famous recent example of this; Belle & Sebastian’s consistently monochromatic artwork worked to a similar, if lesser, degree. London’s Woman’s Hour has built its visual aesthetic into its musical identity from its very foundation. The band has collaborated with acclaimed photographers Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin to fine-craft every element of its visuals, from release art to press photos and music videos. The art is invariably presented in shades of gray with rich shadowing, and hoo boy, does it fit the music.

That’s not to say Woman’s Hour’s music is particularly dark or emotionally cold. The bandfounded by siblings Fiona and Will Burgess, who recruited friends Nicolas Graves and Josh Hunnisetthas a delicate style that feels as out of time as their halftone imagery. Fiona Burgess’ soft and airy vocalslike Kate Bush with a pinch of Liz Fraser-sound almost effortless; she sings over gentle, electronic beats and gauzy keyboard fills as the guitar and bass add light texture. It’s a calming sound that’s not quite Cocteau Twins, not quite coldwave: too minimal for the former, and too warm for the latter. The drawback of this relaxed vibe is that the pace occasionally seems slower than it really is. (The bouncy step in “In Stillness We Remain” makes it an exception.) It’s best suited for when you’re in a laid-back mood, and never something you’re going to throw on to get the heart pumping. It’s a gorgeous album, though, and a perfect one to settle in with as a night dwindles toward its end. (www.womanshour.co.uk)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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