Tanya Brittain – Hireth

Album Review | TCR Music | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Up until now we’ve pretty much associated the name Tanya Brittain with The Changing Room, the duo Tanya formed with Sam Kelly back in 2014.  For her debut solo album, the Cornwall-based singer/songwriter/musician explores a distinctive Breton soundscape, complete with passionate vocals and sweeping accordion flurries.  The atmosphere conjures up the over-spill of wicker chairs before plein air Parisian cafés, Sunday Impressionists discussing Weill and Brecht or Beckett and Hemingway over a drop of Absinthe or perhaps a slurp of Pineau des Charentes.  It’s 1920s Europe with a pinch of Bohemia and a distinctive ambience to go with it.  

In places, the songs come across as theatrical, as if part of a period Bohemian play, full of drama and expression.  “Make the Change” for instance, which you can imagine being delivered from a single spotlight, the singer’s eyes rested on one specific member of the audience somewhere up in the Gods.  As with everything Tanya Brittain touches, it’s always classy stuff and this is no exception.  With all the minor chords in all the right places, “Something More Precious” sees Tanya’s smouldering voice entwine with Alan Pengelly’s accordion motifs, providing all the emotional investment the song rightly deserves. Joining Tanya and Alan are Mark Barnwell on guitar and bouzouki, Annie Baylis on violin, Mattie Foulds on percussion and Ben Nicholls on bass.