Monday, March 18, 2019

Album Review: Francis Rossi & Hannah Rickard - We Talk Too Much

We Talk Too Much is the unexpected collaboration between Francis Rossi of boogie-rock stalwarts Status Quo and retro-rock and roll singer Hannah Rickard of Hannah Rickard & the Relatives. If like me you were expecting a collection of rockabilly, swing or even blues-rock songs you're in for a surprise: the record is pure Country & Western.

The first thing that strikes the listener are the way the stars' voices blend in together: the harmonies are on point, and Rossi hasn't sounded this youthful in forever. Rickard is a powerhouse but she isn't a belter: she uses all of the dynamics in her voice to great effect.

If there is a negative, it's that the production is somewhat too polished: despite the solid performances, instruments sometimes struggle to stick out of the pop varnish that's been generously applied to every track, effectively smoothing over everything, even Rickard's fiddle and Rossi's guitar. A more dynamic approach might have livened things up a bit.

All in all, it's a small gripe as the most important thing is that the songs are all excellent, my personal favourite being I've Tried Letting It Go which has a very George Harrison/Jeff Lynne feel to it. If the overall sound is very Country, the tunes themselves would be equally great dressed in other guises: that's the sign of truly great songwriting.

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