Jo Bywater " Cycle Grace Pulse Break"
To maintain interest in a purely acoustic guitar accompanied album of self penned tunes the artist in question has got to be pretty damn good at both disciplines. The song writing has got to be top notch and the playing and singing exceptional. This interesting album makes a decent fist of it but just …only just fails to hit the mark. Opening with the upbeat ‘Disclaimer’ this reviewer was bracing himself for a cd chockfull of upbeat mediocrity – not so.
‘Let Go’ follows with textures and dynamics missing from the opening track. The still quiet voiced parts effective and shivery. A beautiful voice placed exactly where it should be. ‘Smokescreen’ – more textures and layers. The production emphasising the ‘holes’ in the sound where the soul lurks. The lingering notes drifting into the silence and the tempo change re-iterating the confusion within the lyric and finally a beautifully strummed coda. Lovely and unsettling at the same time.
‘Ropeladder’ maintains the quality and interest. Points of reference maybe The Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco. ‘Fast Ant’ with it’s blues stomp lets the intensity slip but ‘Scratch the Surface ‘ re-ignites the interest with its flat vocal delivery and exquisite guitar sound which carries on into ‘Wave’ the excellent final track. A great debut that promises much.