a beautiful soaring ethereal voice, cites Kate Bush, Clannad and Crowded House among her favourites. The music is primarily acoustic; the duo creating a rich soundscape for their songs with acoustic guitars, dobro, electric slide, mandolin, bouzouki, violin, accordion and bass.
The sound is full, but has a lovely purity about it. Producer Paul Templeman deserves credit for this. The opening Welcome, with its strummed acoustic and slide introduction is a striking number. Cath’s voice is powerful and clear while guest Finn McArdle provides additional colour with some excellent percussion.
From The Lighthouse opens with impressive violin from Catherine while Andy tackles the lead vocals. His voice has a care-worn quality, not dissimilar to Billy Bragg at times, which creates an edge that blends well with Catherine’s purer tone. Left Behind features Catherine to the fore with a terrific climatic chorus. I hear echoes of Karla Bonoff and Richard and Mimi Farina at times, but ultimately the music sounds very original and ... Well, Acoustica!
A lot of time and effort has gone into the writing and arranging of these songs. Andy excels on Amelie, a tender ballad about
finding the courage to strike up a
nice acoustic picking complemented by surprising accordion fills and interesting tempo changes.
How I Am is an appealingly honest take on a burgeoning romance, the female characters vulnerability makes this tale a winner; ‘And I feel it’s time to tell you, I’m as crazy as they come, but I’m sure I was a sweet young girl...’ Elsewhere extra musical texture is provided by Tony Patterson’s ‘magic flute’ on How I Am while The River is a beautiful ballad, very atmospheric. The penultimate Hometown features Andy’s lead vocals on a touching journey into the past; of family and school, where the author dreamed of ‘bowling out the Australians at Headingley.’ Great stuff! The ‘autumn leaves’, depicted at the onset, provide an effective metaphor as Mr Higgins looks back on his lost youth. Glastonbury, one of the first tunes to be recorded, closes the set effectively.
Not many albums list babysitters in the liner notes; Catherine and Andy can feel pleased with their musical offspring. This may not be the kind of music that has you humming immediately. However, there is an intelligence and depth here that requires repeated plays in order to fully appreciate the potential of the material. You should check Acoustica out, you won’t be disappointed. JB