Behind the Lace is the first full album from The Changing Room after last year’s release of the well-received EP, A River Runs Between.
The nucleus of The Changing Room is the duo of guitarist Sam Kelly and accordionist singer-songwriter Tanya Brittain. They have gathered around them a group of top class musicians under producer Gareth Young to create a very enjoyable album of original songs with roots in the folk tradition.
These roots are immediately apparent in the opening track, Hal-an-Tow which commemorates the 8th May celebrations in Halston, Cornwall for the coming of spring. This is an infectious song written by both Brittain and Kelly which benefits immeasurably from the fiddle and whistle playing of guest performer, John McCusker.
As the band are based in Cornwall it’s only natural that many of the songs talk about life in that county. Row Boys Row paints a picture of life as a Cornish fisherman catching crabs, mackerel and pilchards. Whilst A River Runs Between talks about a fisherman whose love for a young woman remains unrequited as both are divided by both a physical and emotional gulf. Both these songs are beautifully written by Brittain and are, lyrically, of a very high standard.
Jon Cleeve, a member of Cornish group The Fisherman’s Friends lends his gruff deep voice on the enjoyable Wreckers. This song evokes the slightly spooky world of the Cornish wreckers who plant false lights to lure ships to their death so that they can plunder the spoils. The track, once again written by Brittain, is enlivened by the Falmouth group, The Oggymen, singing the doom laden refrain; ’Down, down, down, down, down.’
Brittain is not just an accomplished writer, her beautiful singing can be heard on the title track of the album, a sensitively written song about an abusive marriage. This song, a collaboration between Brittain and Kelly, uses the metaphor of the veil to talk about repressed emotion and the secrets that go on behind closed doors.
The ten tracks that make up Behind the Lace are, by turns, joyful, sad, angry and thought provoking. The songs announce the arrival of a talented duo who, with a little help from their friends, have produced a small gem of an album. Highly recommended.Stephen Witkowski
Released By TCR Music, 11 May 2015.
2. I’ll Give You My Voice
3. The Journeyman
4. Through the Mill
6. A River Runs Between
7. Row Boys Row
8. Behind the Lace
9. Final Breath
10. My Tired Smile