The Black Feathers - Strangers We Meet
Single Review

The Black Feathers – Strangers We Meet

This five song debut EP from Gloucestershire folk duo Sian Chandler and Ray Hughes is a beautiful introduction to The Black Feathers. Their sound takes the best of English folk and mixes in Irish and Americana influences to create some lovely poetic songs. But what stands out most is the exquisite clarity of the vocals throughout. The two voices soar apart at times, yet also come together in some quite delicious harmonies that resonate perfectly.

All of the tracks were recorded as live, and that perhaps adds to the passionate feel displayed throughout. The musical backing is great too and, importantly, allows the vocals to shine. Anna Jenkins (Frank Turner, Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo) provides some great violin parts that really work well alongside the various guitars, mandolin and percussion.

The opening title track starts off with a crisp acoustic guitar before the vocals quickly take over. The pace is slow and a double bass adds depth as Chandler and Hughes’ voices rise and fall in real style. 10,000 Times is close to an acoustic rock track, the crystal clear vocals contrasting perfectly with the high energy music. A brief quiet section in the middle provides a short break before the big finish that the song demands.

Open Book is an enchanting acoustic ballad that sees Sian Chandler on lead vocals, tender and passionate, with Ray Hughes adding harmonies. You Will Be Mine has a slower pace, and a weary air that speaks of a passion that smoulders infuses Chandler’s quite sublime vocals. Yet when the music swells there is an almost joyous nature to the pain. This is such a gorgeous song, and only a touch of pedal steel guitar could improve it.

The closing All Come Down is perhaps the most Americana sounding of the five tracks on the EP. A faster pace and exuberant instrumentation give the song great energy and this one has the feel of a live set closer. The sense of celebration brings a really excellent twenty minutes of music to a fitting climax.

The Black Feathers have been building a fine reputation for their live performances both in the UK and in the US. This fine debut EP should serve to bring a very talented duo to a wider audience. We can only hope that the wait for a full album’s worth of songs will not be a long one.

Venue: Strangers We Meet
Support Band: self

Share this!