[None of the Spring Hill songs are on YouTube or GrooveShark, so the image above links, in a new window, to a player that provides four of the eleven songs: Call Somebody, Tax Office Love Song, Worst House and Woman You Can Love.]
I wrote about Chloe and Silas after seeing them at the Forest Folk Club in August: “Their songs are insightful and distinctive, and their performances finely judged and very clear … They are a perfect combination — much more than the sum of their parts.” Having listened to their album Spring Hill eighteen times in the last quarter of 2011, I can confirm everything I wrote then.
Consider, for example, the album opener Call Somebody. In terms of its harmonic base, it’s one of the simplest songs on the album, with the guitar alternating between I and IV chords every couple of bars almost throughout. But that very simplicity provides the perfect landscape to paint the singing onto: the song exists in a sonic world that is lonely, cool, isolated; and the vocal has a very different mood — warm, intimate, thoughtful. That’s especially so because Chloe’s and Silas’s voices weave so organically in and out of each other, a perfect depiction of the closeness that the song is about. And so the music reflects the theme of the song: that in a cold, lonely world, warmth and companionship is there for the taking. Call somebody.
So there you have it: Spring Hill, an album of crystal acoustic purity, of both careful meditations and joyful outbursts (as in One-Man Standing Ovation, one of the happiest songs I know). A wonderful discovery, and my highlight of 2011.
[Buy the CD from amazon.com or CD from amazon.co.uk. The CDs are ludicrously expensive for some reason, but you can also buy MP3s from amazon.com or MP3s from amazon.co.uk, and that makes more sense in this case.]
Next time: a summary and some reflections on my 2011 in music.