A Collection of Lonely ‘Conversations’

A Collection of Lonely ‘Conversations’

Adriana SaboMonday,21 July 2014

The Snap:

Woman’s Hour is a British band based in London. Members of the band are siblings Fiona Jane (vocals) and William (guitar), who were joined back in 2011 by Nick (bass) and Josh (keyboards). Even though they have been playing for some time now, they have only just released their debut album, titled Conversations (though Secretly Canadian). The name of the band came from a very popular BBC radio show that explored women’s interests and issues, but there are not too many references to feminism or women’s rights movement in their art, at least not to my knowledge, so it would seem that the choice of the name is purely for the sake of aesthetic. The music they make can loosely be described as indie pop, but they don’t shy away from exploring other genres, moving sometimes towards ambient, or electronic sound (as they also enjoy doing remixes). All in all, the sound of their music is pretty conventional, with the female voice put forth, accompanied by guitar and keyboard. Fiona Jane’s voice is lovely: clear, with a hint of harshness that is to be expected from the band that speaks mostly of sadness, being comfortable with making ballads and emotional tracks.

The Download:

Their debut, Conversations, speaks of a band that plays conventional pop, with some artsy pretensions. The album’s title track introduces the rest of it perfectly. A steady beat runs throughout the song, giving the music a steady pace. Fiona’s voice is lovely as she sings about awkwardness, waiting and confusion. The track brings about the atmosphere of eighties pop songs, with the synthetic keyboards doing most of the work in accompanying her. “Unbroken Sequence,” the opening track, has the similar atmosphere, with Burgess’ voice being more sweet than awkward. Maybe a bit too sweet for my taste. As the album progresses, we hear more tracks made in this same fashion. With pleasant melodies, often slow and emotional, and some kind of rhythmic accompaniment. Thus, my attention was drawn to “Two Sides of You,” that might be the saddest song I have heard in a while. But, it is not cheesy sad — it’s high quality sad. The track is completely slow, with the voice being accompanied by the beat, which creates the atmosphere of complete and utter emptiness. Long notes emerge after a while, giving the voice a good base and adding to the general feeling of being lost. As the song moves towards the end, it picks up a bit as Burgess sings “I keep holding on…”.

All in all, the album is not too imaginative, the atmosphere is set at the beginning and it remains pretty much the same throughout the album. Melodies are beautiful, but there is no hook, nothing that will make you remember one in particular. The general feeling of sameness is disturbed by slight changes in the beat and the colors of the synthesizer, as well as by delicate changes in Fiona’s interpretation. One other important thing here are the lyrics, which, unfortunately are not always easy to decipher. It seems that songs speak about past relationships, heartache,  sadness and loneliness, but you will need to listen to every track more than once in order to understand what Burgess is singing. Parts of the meaning were sacrificed to the beauty of her voice and the expressiveness of her singing.

So, final verdict: Conversations is a good indie pop album. It will not blow your mind, not will it open up new horizons for you, but, if you enjoy listening to good pop ballads, you will definitely enjoy the ones recorded on this album.

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Hat Tips:

Drowned In SoundSoundcloudFacebookWoman’s Hour, Image Credit: Flickr

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