Wings is a promising first outing as a duo from two familiar faces, Jackie Oates & Megan Henwood, who combine delicate harmonies with enjoyable (if melancholy) tales of longing and loss that will be immediately recognisable to any self-respecting folkie.
The opening track, Love Vigilantes, is a New Order cover, although you wouldn’t know it. The story of a soldier longing to return to his family, with requisite bitter twist at the end, is standard folk-song territory. Oates & Henwood do a great job of transforming mid-80s pop into a contemporary folk ballad.
The highlight of the EP is What’s the Use f Wings, written originally by Brian Bedford of vocal group Artisan. It’s a melancholy, even bitter song of missed opportunities and wasted potential, to which Oates’ and Henwood’s vocals bring a visceral sense of longing and loss.
Setting Of The Sun is a traditional ballad, also known as Polly Vaughan, arranged by Oates. It tells the tragic story of a young hunter who accidentally shoots his true love, thinking her a swan. Oates’ arrangement is very simple and stripped back, and really quite pleasant.
Wings ends with a cover of the Lau track Ghosts. It’s a fine ballad with a subject matter particularly relevant to current events, but it does lack something of the raw emotion that comes through in Lau’s original.
Wings is an EP that is mellow, often mournful and really quite enjoyable. Hopefully it is the first of many releases from Oates & Henwood as a duo.James Motteram
Released on Dharma Records on 26 August 2016.
1. Love Vigilantes
3. What’s the Use of Wings?
4. Setting of the Sun