Twelfth Day - Speak From the Start

2013 ep

Speak From the Start - Twelfth Day

the bright young folk review

Catriona Price and Esther Swift’s latest venture is an eclectic EP - titled Speak From the Start - of cover versions. It’s a diverse collection, but the duo have made the songs their own with thorough, clever rearrangements and performances.

In the EP’s opening song, Edit Me, Price and Swift re-imagine Glaswegian band Twin Atlantic’s angsty rock as a richly layered, constantly building and dreamy piece. The duo’s Scottish-accented vocals are appealingly clear, overlapping and wrapping around each other to provide further texture.

The track flows neatly into a version of Blondie’s Sunday Girl. Price’s gentle, colourful fiddling again works well with the brightness of Swift’s harp, and the duo perform the catchy chorus with verve, before the song changes gear and the “hurry up” refrain adds an appropriately urgent, abstract coda.

Passion Pit’s Seaweed Song is next to get the treatment. Pizzicato playing and gentle harmonies liven up the song, and its crescendo again displays a gift for rearrangement, though it’s not one of the EP’s most memorable moments.

Twelfth Day were inspired to record an EP of covers by a commission - from BBC Radio Manchester - to cover Morrissey’s You’re the One for Me, Fatty. It’s included here, and is initially reminiscent of Slow Moving Millie’s cutesy reworking of Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want. In fact, it’s a much more interesting, progressive piece, though the lyric - one of Morrissey’s most oblique and flippant - seems rather at odds with the music surrounding it.

The best is saved for last, though. Kanye West might seem the most unlikely artist here for a folk duo to cover, but his minimal, unusually downbeat Streetlights is full of humanity and melancholy. It’s given a straightforward, warm treatment and a strong violin solo. A rewarding conclusion to an interesting and diligently constructed project.

Mark Dishman

Released 9 December 2013 on Orange Feather Records

1. Edit Me
2. Sunday Girl
3. Seaweed Song
4. You’re the One for Me, Fatty
5. Street Lights

Twelfth Day discography