02/02/2012

The Fragile - O'Hooley & Tidow


It is a strange fact, but it is the really good albums that are the hardest ones to review. Belinda and Heidi are getting rave reviews and praise across the board for their follow up to 'Silent June'. Quite right too as it is an incredibly moving, deep and finely nuanced album, one that is truly the work of the duo whereas Silent June leant upon Belinda's personal back catalogue in its content.

The album is a series of vignettes of peoples lives, it's about what's under the surface with these girls, the roiling sea of suppressed emotions that break out into the light of day in small gestures and sentiments. Signals that we all give out but can so easily be missed in the mad rush of life.

It is a very English sensibility that gives these songs their pathos, the affirmation of love between an elderly couple for instance; inconsequential perhaps, yet one that carries an infinite undertow of compassion and love.

Belinda and Heidi won the best debut award in our Spiral Awards last year, we presented it to them at the Sark Folk Festival. Arriving at the festival after a journey that involved car, plane, taxi, fishing boat and finally a tractor we staggered into the tent just as they were performing, maybe it was the sunshine and the calm of the island, but I feel it was their performance that stilled time and flooded the tent with a warm glow of calm. That is what is at the root of their songwriting, they freeze the frame on life and lift up the bonnet to see what's underneath.

http://ohooleyandtidow.com/

5 stars

Iain Hazlewood



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