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HAUL AWAY!

I’ve been aware of Liz Green’s music – swirling around like folk scented wood smoke, easing out of venues I pass, slipping under the door from the next room – but Haul Away! marks the first time I’ve really stopped to listen, and I’m really pleased I did.

There is a sense of the ancient here, but not in a reductive, ‘let’s make it all crackly’ way. A feel of something other: of a poised, near-Gothic stillness. It’s a feel that gives some truth to those Karen Dillon comparisons.

The title track is lovely. It’s a modern shanty turning on a piano figure that seems to hold itself back from fully committing. This reticence gently pulls you closer to the speakers, making you engage more fully with the words. The playing is just ace throughout, especially on the chamber instrumental ‘Little I’, filled with glistening strings and foregrounded gutting cello. Liz Green’s voice is an instrument all its own. It might be described as mannered at points, but far more often it locks into a waltz with the instruments swirling round it in a grin-inducing way.

On first listening, I was occasionally jolted by the transitions between the bare boned folk tunes and, to lean on the most tired cliché, the Brechtian cabaret numbers. Subsequent listens have revealed this jarring to be softened by the watery lyrical themes and the enveloping feel of warm duvet melancholy. ‘Where The River Don’t Flow’ is my choice of a centrepiece, crawling towards me in smudged Weimar makeup and oddly, fleetingly and utterly wonderfully, evoking a mirror universe Victoria Wood. You really should have a listen.

by Now Then Sheffield