Thought You Knew
Formed around the vocals and writing of singer Laura Kinsella and multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson, Snowpoet is more than just the duo – on record, and live, it’s a lithe live band, gorgeous jazz textures drip, there’s a hint of ambient-folk to it – if that means anything (it will when you hear the sound, it doesn’t seem to cover it as just an in-print description).
There’s a delicate waft of saxophone (Josh Arcoleo), there are strings (Francesca Ter-Berg, Alice Zawadzki) and there are even gorgeous instrumental passages (Two of Cups) but it’s the way Kinsella finds room for clever lyrics (It’s Already Better Than Ok) and enchanting vocal melodies (Dear Someone) that is the winning potion here.
I like everything about this band – but the name. And that’s a small problem, one I can easily get over.
It leaves me cold. And not in any profound way. But, no matter.
The music on Thought You Knew is mesmeric, all at once it’s the Celtic balladry of Eddi Reader and a dry, organic take on where Portishead might have gone (and – come to think of it – did, once or twice on, ha, Third).
The album’s glorious centrepiece is Snow; it’s barely two minutes in length. But the precision, the feel, the drama – it’s a book, a movie, a whole album’s worth of beauty and tension.
This is jazz. But not as any jazz fan – or player – knows it. This is night music. To play all day – and every day.
This is a winning album. A beauty. Something just the absolute right side of magisterial; it’s subtle and lived-in, and lovely.
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