Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow continue to forge their own highly individual direction on their fifth album. Shadows has all of their trademark Northern bite, harmonies to die for and the deep empathy they have for each other and the subjects of their songwriting. The album also possesses a level of maturity over and above their past work; the duo are one of those all too rare things; a culmination of roots and experience plus a magical element of originality.
Trying to analyse how this comes about is something of a fruitless task, their musical roots are straightforward to document, but the originality is far harder to tease out. For me it always comes down to the fact that on a deep level they have found their muse in each other, as a married couple they have achieved the love that Louis de Bernières describes in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin as ‘Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.’
That ‘one tree’ that they have become informs everything that they do, lending their songs an elemental quality. Voices locked together becoming a greater whole, music that leaps from the whimsical to the dramatic (often in the same song). This is OH&T taken to another level, songwriting that relies on true emotions rather than showy flourishes – always digging a little deeper, peeling away another layer or twisting your gaze around to find a more human truth.