Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Sometimes it isn’t the person that is next to your side fighting the same battles as you that is the person you confide an idea, a plan or a dream in, for any person who is that deeply entrenched in your life might find it difficult to understand that the way you see the world is not quite the way they view it, that there is more than one way home.
It is the Closest Stranger, that one person out of millions in which the connection is made and to whom the small details are often played out too. How often do we start talking to someone on the bus on the way home from work and we disclose just how bad the day has been, how the office or the children have played up, how you think your friend is really doing under the weight of her guilt; we would never tell our best friend, we would tell our significant other, just exactly what goes on in our minds when these interactions happen.
It is that sense of open secrecy that makes Two Ways Home so alluring in their E.P. Closest Stranger. Isabella Mariee and Lewis Fowler are not just close, they are joined at the hip as the four songs play out with extreme beauty, a sense of the once unfamiliar made to feel like a guest in someone’s thoughts for a while, a visitor with privileges but not one who can take advantage of the frank admissions held open and tantalisingly fulsome.
The mix of the Viennese whirl presented by Isabelle Mariee and the English pastoral of Gloucestershire’s Mr. Fowler result strangely, but with such a wonderful smile of class and recognition, in the adoration of Americana, that person on the bus that you spill the beans to about your life, it is noted and turned into sublime penmanship.
In the Best Part Of Me, Push and Pull, Don’t Give Up On Me Tonight and the E.P. title track Closest Stranger, Two Ways Home ramp up the style and the sense of exploration that Americana offers, pushing beyond the boundaries imposed by Country’s white picket fence and manicured lawns and instead opens the box a little to let some secrets out and become fashionably full of companionship. A great sentiment in a world that has become too closed minded to such moments of open spirit.
Ian D. Hall