The Most Ugly Child – Copper and Lace

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

You don’t expect authentic, shit-kicking Honky Tonk to come out of Nottingham, but once the raw and lively “What Might Have Been” and “Golden Gate” have opened Copper and Lace, it becomes pretty clear that The Most Ugly Child have a tighter grip on Americana than some of their US contemporaries.  Led by the vocals of Daniel Wright and Stevie-Leigh Goodison and featuring some delightful fiddle from Nicole J. Terry, Copper and Lace recalls the golden age of bar room country whilst spilling over, occasionally, into the realm of chugging folk rock “Lungs” and the heartfelt storytelling of Steve Earle and family “Roses”, “Queen of the Honky Tonk”.  The whole package is held together tightly via Matt Cutler and Max Johnson’s impressive rhythm section and varnished with some spine-tingling pedal steel from Big Jim Widdop.  Whilst there’s a lot to like about the shimmering musicianship on this impressive release – the band’s first full-length album since forming in 2012 – it is, perhaps, the sweet interplay of vocals from Wright and Goodison that gives Copper and Lace its enduring appeal.  Fragile, often to the point of risking dissonance, these are the kind of vocals that insist on pulling us in closer, and by the final track on the album, the quietly sublime “My Pony”, you can’t help but press play again.