thu 02/02/2023

CD: The Cornshed Sisters - Tell Tales | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Cornshed Sisters - Tell Tales

CD: The Cornshed Sisters - Tell Tales

A vocal treat that begs to be invited in

The Cornshed Sisters fail to be disturbed by what's in that pie

On Tell Tales's opening cut, The Cornshed Sisters declare “If bombs were love, then you could call mine Dresden”. Their debut is allusive, with literary leanings. But the emphasis on the words doesn’t drown out the music, a slinky confection that’s not too far down the road from Dory Previn, Tom Rush, Kate and Anna McGarrigle and even Brian Protheroe.

Tell Tales isn’t folk – it’s a folk-influenced singer-songwriter album with a distinct whiff of 1972 to 1975. Sunderland’s Liz Corney, Marie Nixon, Jennie Redmond and Cath Stephens harmonise like a dream and have more on their mind than the Seventies. Their voices coagulate with a thickness that harks back to The Andrews Sisters. It’s a very pretty sound. “Dresden” is actually a cover – of a 2008 song by Les Cox (sportifs). The discovery that Nixon used to be in Lauren Lavern’s punk-pop band Kenickie also does nothing to undermine the idea that The Cornshed Sisters could be from any era after the late Sixties. The emphasis is on the vocals, forefronted in a spare, organic production - the album is co-produced by Field Music's Peter Brewis. It’s hard not to conjure with how strings or Baroque instruments could weave in and out of these voices.

The evocative “Tommy” is an a cappella lament that can't fail to affect. “One by One” is another goodbye. “Don’t melt away” they sing on “Soft White”. Farewells might be on their mind, but it’s a welcome to The Cornshed Sisters and their assured Tell Tales. Come in and sing.

Listen to “Dance at My Wedding”, from The Cornshed Sisters’ Tell Tales

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