9 Dec 2021
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Holly Arrowsmith - Album Review: A Dawn I Remember

10 Jul 2018 // A review by Trevor Faville
Sometimes it’s good to approach writing a review for a new collection of music by listening to the music first, before reading any of the attendant press, and reviewer info. That way you listen to what you are hearing as opposed to what you are expecting. This proved rewarding for this release for a number of reasons.

Holly Arrowsmith reveals the main colours of her palette over the first couple of songs-Strummed acoustic guitar, breathy soprano vocals (with frequent skips into falsetto head-voice) carefully and intimately recorded. Fans of Emmylou Harris will certainly resonate with this. From here what happens is a gradually enfolding exposition of a creative artist who has really hit a peak. This collection of songs quite literally unfolds from piece to piece. Extra layers of instrumentation are carefully-so carefully-sprinkled over key points, and every song leads to the next, with no sense of rush but a very clear sense of direction.

So, there is an almost-narrative structure, and Arrowsmith uses this approach with real skill. There are cleverly alternating keys, meters and timbres which introduce variation in a way to balance slower tempo and quieter dynamics.  As the album progresses, the songs build in intensity, peaking with the final two songs Autumn and Slow Train Creek -songs which (gently) echo the instrumental flavours of Billy Bragg and Glen Hansard respectively. Powerful, evocative music that is confident enough not to feel any need to overstate itself. Witness the point in Slow Train Creek where the strings kick in and then diminuendo away by the end of that same chorus, leading to the plaintive final solo vocal phrase "return to me". It's a wonderfully effective (and affecting) way to end an album.

Lyrically, Arrowsmith has a way of being observational without being strident, and introspective without being narcissistic. Her words are not wasted, and she understands the power of a lyric wedded to a strong melody. A quick dive mid-album reveals an easy source - try Love Together for lyrical economy. Frequently too, Arrowsmith employs a kind of ‘final word’ technique with brief vocal codas at the end of a song-leaving the listener with some consecutive end phrases - “I am hopeful” “mostly they’ll teach us” “so much beauty I could cry” “let a little sorrow go” “return to me” - giving subtle emphasis to the not-quite-story-arc.

This is by far Holly Arrowsmith's best work to date. She has crafted an evocative ’big sky’ album that acknowledges and honours its influences without wasting too much time being reverential. Over this whole collection there is a fine musical sensibility, with melodic and lyrical strength, sensitive and intelligent arrangement /production, and clear creative vision. It is music that draws you back for another listen and offers fresh reward every time.


Review written by Trevor Faville
 

About Holly Arrowsmith

"This is the kind of C&W meets folk that strips everything but the honesty away, and what your left with will leave you trembling."
-Scott Kennedy (The Source)

Holly Arrowsmith is the new name in Folk that could be worth keeping your eye on. This South Island songstress has been turning heads all over New Zealand lately- and rumour has it, there is something different stirring in her acoustically driven, soulful sound. Arrowsmith's poetic, thought provoking lyrics, combined with her distinctively haunting voice, give you something pretty special, according to 'The Source'.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Holly Arrowsmith

Releases

A Dawn I Remember
Year: 2018
Type: Album
For The Weary Traveller
Year: 2015
Type: Album
The River
Year: 2013
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Trevor Faville

Dylan Storey - Single/Video Review: Foreign Sands
30 Nov 2021 // by Trevor Faville
Dylan Storey is based in Auckland and is the kind of musician who steadfastly treads his own path, be it as a contributing guitarist for the likes of Reb Fountain and Fleur Jack, or working in a variety of pro bands- as well as writing and releasing his own work. Storey maintains an impressive work rate and eclectic output.
Read More...
Shivers - Single Review: Runaway
09 Jul 2021 // by Trevor Faville
This is the second release from Shivers since the group evolved in Wellington in 2018. Founders Adrian Win and Timmy Porter are at the heart of the sound, but Runaway involves a larger cast of contributors-notably drummer Rick Cranson.
Read More...
Simon Hirst - Single Review: No Turning Back
13 May 2021 // by Trevor Faville
Hamilton Singer-songwriter Simon Hirst has released a new single No Turning Back. This is his first new material since the Feet of God collection from 2018.
Read More...
Marsha - Single Review: Last Night
28 Apr 2021 // by Trevor Faville
Marsha’s history dates from 2018 or so, and Last Night is the latest release for these "four dudes from Christchurch". It's an accomplished track - a considered melody and thoughtful vocal arrangements are an early and immediate take-away.
Read More...
Indie Soull - Album Review: The Book of Angels
17 Mar 2021 // by Trevor Faville
Indie Soull is the working name for much-travelled author and musician Mutch Katsonga and The Book of Angels is his latest release and forms part of an extensive catalogue of work that stretches back to 2016.The Book of Angels is an eight-track album including two versions of the final song The Lord Taketh Away that projects the voice of an experienced, mature and considered singer-songwriter.
Read More...
Emily Rice - Single Review: Over Time
10 Dec 2020 // by Trevor Faville
Emily Rice is an experienced singer/songwriter with considerable international experience and perspective. Working with We Stole The Sun, New Jungle Order and Aro among others, her prior work has garnered the stamp of approval from artists of the calibre of Kimbra-no-mean-feat.
Read More...
Imperial April - Single Review: Tonic For Your Boredom
21 Aug 2020 // by Trevor Faville
This is the second release from Christchurch combo Imperial April, that has evolved in a new direction from their origins as The Response, with Victoria Ropp taking an upfront role on vocals. As such, Tonic for Your Boredom is a further refinement - and step up from- previous release Peachy.
Read More...
Venice Qin - EP Review: Dreamboy
29 May 2020 // by Trevor Faville
Venice Qin is an Auckland based singer and Songwriter. Dreamboy is a four-song collection and is her first release.
Read More...
View All Articles By Trevor Faville

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • EASY ON ME
    Adele
  • COLD HEART (PNAU REMIX)
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
  • MR REGGAE
    L.A.B.
  • ABCDEFU
    GAYLE
  • ALL TOO WELL (10 MINUTE VERSION) (TAYLOR'S VERSION)
    Taylor Swift
  • SHIVERS
    Ed Sheeran
  • STAY
    The Kid LAROI And Justin Bieber
  • SMOKIN' OUT THE WINDOW
    Silk Sonic
  • INDUSTRY BABY
    Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
  • HEAT WAVES
    Glass Animals
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem