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Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkwater - Findings (Story Records)
It's little wonder that we are hearing rather a lot of Ange Hardy these days, one of the most focused, hard-working and prolific artists to have emerged in the last few years; it almost appears like she has been hidden away from us, almost imprisoned, only to suddenly and unexpectedly burst out with the energy and determination of someone discovering freedom for the very first time. This focus continues to grow and develop with the latest album and first collaborative project with Lukas Drinkwater, a busy musician in his own right, stepping into the spotlight for the first time as a songwriter and joint front-person. With a keen eye on presentation, Ange and Lukas wrap their songs in beauty, with a monochrome sleeve and lyrics booklet. The songs are self-composed in the main, some elaborations of existing traditional material and one or two familiar songs such as The Trees They Do Grow High and The Berkshire Tragedy. By the Tides is a moving comment on our current migration situation in the Med, with a sense of family at the core, an eloquent comment on our troubled times. Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkwater refuse to herald in their songwriting credentials with overblown fanfare, but with restraint and humility. In other words, this is what's happening, please deal with it. Both Nancy Kerr and Kathryn Roberts join Ange on True are the Mothers, three mums in unison, which is truly beautiful in its execution. This really is a fantastic record.