ALBUM REVIEW: Brigid Mae Power – Head Above the Water | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

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Released: 05.06.20

Fire Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having recited the trauma of an abusive relationship with 2018’s shattering The Two Worlds, it’s both heartening and something of a relief to hear Brigid Mae Power adopt a decidedly lighter tone on album number three. Where its predecessor’s words hit home like guided projectiles, Head Above the Water focuses instead on low-key tales and everyday memories. This fresh lyrical guise is showcased to instant and alluring effect by On a City Night; yet the record’s opener is equally notable in its introduction of a rejigged and refreshed sonic palette. With a backing ensemble helmed by folk luminary Alasdair Roberts and her partner Peter Broderick, the song’s nostalgic potency is enriched with a novel country tinge – a flavour conducive to slow-burn, yet one which proves a delightful companion to the modest, bewitching chime of Power’s voice.

For all their expansive instrumental flourishes, it’s striking that these 10 numbers forsake none of the intimacy which rendered The Two Worlds and her eponymous debut so impactful. Indeed, in many ways, Head Above the Water is a record which transcends its predecessors’ straddling of traditional and contemporary divides; a blurred dichotomy exemplified by two standouts – the ominous, droning menace of I Was Named After You and her stark yet handsome interpretation of folk staple The Blacksmith. It’s a balancing act performed with equal distinction by the likes of Karine Polwart and Alasdair Roberts himself, and with Head Above the Water, Power dispels any doubt regarding her status among their peers.

 


 

 

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