A track by track review of the new LP from singer/songwriter/pianist Kirsty Merryn, an ambient-folk concept album of snapshots and musings from dusk till dawn.
1. Twilight. A distant piano, freed of time constraints drifts and sustains as a bookend to the songs. When the voice and other acoustic instruments arrive the scene is set.
2. The Banks of the Sweet Primroses (feat Phil Beer). Straight into this traditional tune, Kirsty’s pure voice tells a tale of a dark ambiguous encounter, nicely tempered by a subtle violin.
3. Constantine (feat Alex Alex). The piano is back at the forefront for this gentle and unhurried duet of love and longing ‘…hold me in your arms…only you can keep me safe…’
4. Mary. Stepping the tempo up, Kirsty delivers a winning vocal with variations on ‘…Mary…say you’ll come walking with me…’ in this concisely structured folkpop track.
5. Our Bright Night. Over an atmospheric drone from a shruti box, the vocal takes on an extra sparkling clarity in this timeless reflection.
6. The Deep | The Wild | The Torrent. Probably my favourite track on the collection, one to lose yourself in like some island landscape. The graceful waltzing chord sequence is laced through with many instrumental contributions that embrace the voice and lyric to perfection.
7. Outlandish Knight. A version of another traditional tale, steamy and sinister with mysterious and mythical overtones, augmented by the tension in the music.
8. Little Fox. Sparse and concise, a sweet melody with an undercurrent of the dark woods.
9. Shanklin Chine (feat Sam Kelly). The tree-lined gorge in the Isle of Wight is the evocative backdrop to the duo’s contrasting vocals and some neat twists in the melody. The sombre story doesn’t end well ‘….at Shanklin Chine the jagged rocks would be her only marriage bed…’
10. Thieves of Whitehall. A contemporary comment set to a melody and backing that could be from an older tradition.
11. The Wake. A return to the purity of simple piano and voice, this is another favourite track for me, packed with poetic imagery ‘….or the freezing air should take a hold in June…….and the grass that grows will remind me of our parting…and the grass grows long…’ Gorgeous.
12. Dawn. The final instrumental, as the excellent musical vignettes of the night fade but linger in the memory…