Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
There is something endlessly fascinating about hearing a set of songs that you know have been stripped down and given no treatment whatsoever except that of the genuine love and respect from the musician or band taking on the arrangements. That no extra appear, no overlapping of voices to dissuade the listener from taking an even keener approach to taking in the hopeful message or the downbeat regret that music offers. It is a fascination that sits well at the heart of Miranda Sykes’ and Rex Preston’s album The Watchmaker’s Wife.
Double headed charisma and the intricate nature of strings playing anywhere will always be noticed, yet with an abundance of style Ms. Sykes and Mr. Preston have produced an album that doesn’t just sit at the heart of the English Folk scene, it captures the very essence of what Folk knows itself to be, the awareness of telling a story without fading from the realms of reality, of humbleness and the ability to understand that loss in all its forms is not forever, it can become something tangible and to be hold anew.
The relationship between musician and double bass, mandolin, bouzouki and tenor guitar is one of a marriage of truth on the album, the way that both musicians have managed to bring the dynamic out of what might be considered by some to be missing an element of whistle and bell and yet as the album progresses, it becomes clear that the bell would hinder the music and the whistle can do exactly that, find itself another musician to bother.
Tracks such as Rosie, the beauty of Good Natured Man, the pounding craftsmanship at the heart of Bonnie Light Horseman and Waste of The Moon are more than enough to whet the appetite and add strength to what becomes a powerful album built on precision and timing, nothing is left off, nothing is taken away; this is just an album that delights in its own straight forward approach and one that allows the feeling of space and comfortable breathing in between each well placed word and note.
The Watchmaker’s Wife is an album of sincerity and goodness, a rolling tumble across a recently light showered meadow; a great joy.
Ian D. Hall