Trio Gitan – Eastern Horizons | Album Review | Self Release | Review by Liam Wilkinson | 01.01.14
Once again the Trio Gitan has delivered another atmospheric showcase of world music. Eastern Horizons froths with masterfully rendered instrumental improvisations on Hungarian dances, boleros, Klesmer and Celtic blues with a few vocals thrown in for good measure. The interplay between the accordion of Paul Carroll and the violins, guitars and various other stringed instruments of Jack Burge and Andy Lawrenson provides the real impetus to give this album a spin, especially on such tracks as Paganini’s “Caprice No. 24” (that well known South Bank Show theme), Django Reinhardt’s “Troublant Bolero” and the charming Parisian tune “Au Vieux Bal Musette”. Leaping dexterously from European folk jazz to traditional Celtic reels, from classical pieces to twenties blues, Eastern Horizons is an album that oozes with the versatility that the Trio Gitan possesses in bucketfuls.
Sweet Gum Tree – The Snakes You Charm and The Wolves You Tame | Album Review | Dreamy Bird | Review by Liam Wilkinson | 02.01.14
Although Arno Sojo’s emotive vocals may divide listeners at the start of his debut solo release The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame, it’s highly likely that a union of satisfied listeners will form as the album progresses. What begins as a pretty standard, perhaps slightly overblown pop record soon evolves into a captivating, layered showcase of the French songwriter’s craft. Indeed, a close reading of Sojo’s lyrics provides something of a revelation – here we have a wordsmith whose poetry could easily stand alone. Lines such as ‘Culminating in a white room bathed in light / Along pillow conversations slowly they entwined / Her golden curls, his copper hair’ (“New Rays”) and ‘Somewhere the cold would not penetrate / A shelter made of trust that grief could not infiltrate’ (“November Daughter”) exemplify the sinews and flourishes of Sojo’s lyrical prowess. Remarkable, then, that the dexterity of Sojo’s pen is only illuminated by the lavish and somewhat dreamy nature of the music. A lush orchestral backing lifts each song on this record to dizzying heights, along with Sojo’s crisp and ornate acoustic fingerpicking. The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame is a high-quality collection of thoughtful ballads set against an incandescent backdrop of swirling string arrangements and delightfully languid chamber pop.