An album entitled The Hind Wheels of Bad Luck is never going to be cheery, but Anglo-American duo, Cath and Phil Tyler bring beauty to their protagonists’ melancholy with this, their second album.
Quite minimalist in terms of its musical arrangement, the duo have capitalised on the power of a single guitar and the human voice. And the album’s opening track Dearest Dear is the perfect example of how the sparse instrumentation captures the raw emotion hidden within the lyrics of their chosen songs. A dying woman’s lament to her lover, it isn’t until half way through that any other instrumentation joins the solitary guitar, which makes the introduction of the accordion even more striking and magnificent.
The sound is stripped back once again for the following track, Imaginary Trouble. Lamenting for an event which, as yet, has not happened, Cath and Phil’s voices paint the perfect picture of a frantic aunt worried about the fate of her nephew. Matching the clipped tone of the guitar, they evoke a sense of panic in the listener as the tale unfolds.
A rare instrumental, The Wind that Shakes the Barley gives guitarist, Phil Tyler a chance to truly shine. A well known tune, Phil makes it his own with his guitar solo, keeping the usually upbeat tune at the same level as the rest of the album. Consequently, the track doesn’t stand at odds with the other offerings.
Swapping the guitar for the banjo, we bid farewell to The Hind Wheels of Bad Luck the traditional American folk song, Long time Travelling. With a tune that will be familiar to anyone who knows their Christmas carols, this is a truly beautiful track. With Phil singing the melody, Cath is free to harmonise and the result, like much of the album, is simple yet hauntingly beautiful and a real testament to the power of two voices and a single instrument.
The Hind Wheels of Bad Luck is a deeply intense offering from a couple whose love for the songs they sing shines through on every track. Raw, emotive and exquisitely sparse, this record demands your full attention from the very start but put in the effort and you’ll reap the rewards.Mary Stokes
Released on No-Fi Records
1. Dearest Dear
2. Imaginary Trouble
3. Our Captain Cried
4. Whip Poor Will
5. Three Maidens
6. Golden Ace/Courting Is A Pleasure
7. Lady Gay
9. The Wind That Shakes The Barley
10. Castle By The Sea
11. Long Time Travelling