Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
The historical and social significance of Coffee & Gin cannot be easily dismissed as part of the way the people of Britain lead their lives in the 21st Century; Hogarth’s famous Beer and Gin Lane printing depicting the social ills of Gin Lane is tempered by the 18th Century’s love and seeming respectability of the advancing coffee houses that were springing up all over capital. Yet the two are probably more interlinked than they ever probably were intended to be and the slow death assured by the drinking of foreign Gin is enough to remember the addiction many have to the bean in the century we find ourselves feeding.
Coffee & Gin, two of the most marvellous inventions and yet hiding something deeper, something that alludes to beauty and danger, an aroma that is unsurpassed and a creative spur that can bring forth great feats of creative thinking, or perhaps one that William Hogarth could not have foreseen or alluded to, certainly not one that could match Two Black Sheep’s Coffee & Gin.
Amy Chalmers and Ian Davies bring together the sense of peace and calm that only a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere can attain, the substance of the performance and the knowledge that the stringed instruments on show by both artists, alongside the lovingly captured piano, playful drums, organ and deep resonating cello of the master of the bow, Vicky Mutch, all is quiet, all is truly incredible.
Two Black Sheep, the faith in the flock to provide such an occurrence is not lost upon the listener’s ears, the arrangement is framed and lifted and each song finds itself in the open, it is the taste of freedom after being locked away in the dark, the sound of release.
In songs such as Just For Tonight, Don’t Forget Me, Tongue Tied and Glasgow Train the imagination is set out on a course of discovery, one of implication and daring, to find freedom is to know you have escaped the pen, however is it just a bigger space you have found or one that leads ultimately to free thought and expression; Coffee & Gin is the result of that search for self expression and it is marvellous.
Coffee & Gin is a beautifully arranged album, one that really nails down Amy Chalmers and Ian Davies excellent work together.
Ian D. Hall