Ward Thomas – Hold Space
‘Hold Space’ is a new song from UK country-pop duo Ward Thomas, building on the reputation of their acclaimed 2019 ‘Restless Minds’ album and it will be included on a forthcoming EP.
It is a well balanced union of a melody that holds the song without over-elaborate instrumentation and of course features the sisters’ sparkling harmonies. A straightforward lyric makes the point very effectively as it describes how to be there for someone who may be struggling emotionally. They recently supported James Blunt on his UK Arena Tour which probably opened up a whole new audience but I think I preferred seeing them headlining a stunning sellout show in the intimate setting of the Cambridge Junction last March.
The duo have now rescheduled their acoustic tour for September this year.
NZCA Lines – Real Good Time
NZCA Lines is a London based electronic duo who I first heard when they released a lush bit of synth-pop and nearly hit called ‘Two Hearts’ in 2015. As I often do I was initially attracted by the band name, inspired by the giant animal patterns in the Peruvian desert only visible from the air. This new track ‘Real Good Time’ features on an album ‘Pure Luxury’ due in July; this time the keyboards and beat have been simultaneously pumped up then unravelled as well as featuring unpredictability in the vocal sounds. The influence of some of the looser party-groove tracks by Prince weaves its way through too; it is a winning combination of out-there funk and elegant electrics.
Molly & The Moon – Rise
‘Rise’ is another super single from folk-country four-piece Molly & The Moon, a follow-up to heartbreaking ballad ‘Cold Is The Night’.
This song is very much an anthem of positivity, probably it would be perfectly placed as a finale to a live set (when those days come again…). Driven throughout by a pulsing rhythm guitar over a recurring and reassuring bass the lyrics refer to the inevitable passing of time ‘….can’t stop the sun from falling over the edge of the horizon…‘ but counteracted by the optimism ‘…as the sun will rise once more…‘. With extra band harmonies, the rich tones of keyboard and the continuing subtle but complex percussion pattern ‘Rise’ builds nicely to the grand final chorus – showing that there is plenty going on instrumentally in this song to add to Molly’s excellent vocal performance.
An EP that collects together earlier solo work by Gloucestershire based singer and songwriter Molly-Anne, predating her new band Molly & The Moon. Fusing elements of folk, country and storytelling, these well-crafted songs are uplifted even further by Molly’s top-quality vocals.
1. A San Francisco Story. Starting with just percussive guitar chords and the pure voice this opening track is described by Molly as a live favourite that tells its own story ‘….it was a quarter to eight down by the Golden Gate….I lost my heart in San Francisco…we didn’t care and we wore flowers in our hair…’ The amalgam of real or imagined imagery works a treat and the band rise to the occasion as they gradually join in.
2. Horizon. A wistful recollection of a past relationship, the narrator looking at the horizon and still hoping in the anthemic chorus ‘…come and find me where the ocean meets the sky…’
3. California Calling. The biggest chorus on the EP is bookended by gorgeous folk stylings in the vocals of the delicate verses. A guitar solo and organ fills out the sound before the celebratory full harmonies at the end.
4. Bristol Boy. Contemplation of a summer romance inspires vivid memories ‘…we’re running over Clifton Common searching for the sun…’, with a hint of melancholy as ‘…times like those keep me reminiscing…’. The song rushes along with urgency, as unfortunately the time passes all too quickly.
5. The Lakes. Alternating between the reverie of the verses and the majestic chorus this is another thoughtful anthem with luminous lyrical reflections ‘….and now the winter’s here and you keep the frost at my door….’. The final minute and a half of instrumental and vocal build-up is a brilliant finale to the EP.
First recorded as a solo acoustic ballad in 2019 by folk country singer and composer Molly-Anne this stunning new version has reimagined and expanded the original and now stands as the first release from the new band Molly & The Moon.
Reassuringly the track has retained the subtlety and understatement; set to a gentle waltz time it is a simple expression of missing a loved one ‘…I think that I love you too much…you’d break my heart if you never came back…’ resolving into the perfectly balanced three-part harmony chorus, ‘….cold is the night without you here….the pain of my heartache as wild as the sea…I hope the wind blows you back to me….’.
The production and performance is relaxed and mellow – with the rich but delicate lead vocal hinting at the depth of emotion beneath the surface.
This new band line-up features acoustic bass, guitar, banjo and cajón and is featured in an atmospheric video recorded at a 10th Century Saxon Barn in Gloucestershire, an appropriately timeless and classic setting for this gorgeous song.
(Molly & The Moon can be seen at the charity Frameshifter II Festival on 21st March, tickets available here )