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Liz Simcock - Friday Night Train Home (Letisha Records)

Star rating: 
3

FRIDAY NIGHT TRAIN HOME features a dozen new songs from the pen of singer/songwriter Liz Simcock, whose natural flair for storytelling dominates this, her fourth album to date. There's no self-indulgent navel gazing in Liz's approach to song writing, rather a bright-eyed observational peek at the world around her, a world inhabited by engaging characters and everyday situations. There's Harry for instance in Harry's Eyes, who quite rightly believes amongst other things, that Al Pacino's current movies aren't a patch on the old ones. We all have a friend like Harry and whilst we listen, we are immediately on the way to identifying our own.

The subjects in these songs range from the thought-provoking to the whimsical, such as the heart-felt look at lasting relationships in The Long Haul to knitting patterns of all things in the banjo-led Knitting Song. Although each of these songs are quite different from one another, the approach is similar, with the subjects treated to equal scrutiny, whether it be dance envy in To Dance like You Do or the melancholia of autumnal blues in Another Year.
 
Liz's strength though is in her wryly observed and highly engaging stories, such as The Bouzouki and the W3, where we take a bus ride through London, only to find ourselves embroiled in a dramatic mini-adventure. If we think a story about a missing Greek instrument is a silly idea, then why do we listen attentively right through to the end, almost on the edge of our seats? 
 
Produced by Dave Ellis, who also plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, percussion and piano, the album also includes Boo Howard on bass and Harry Bogdanovs on piano, each providing the songs with the sort of embellishment they rightly deserve. 
 
Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky
 
More info: www.lizsimcock.com