by Woman's HourWoman's Hour


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Conversations, the debut album by the London-based quartet Woman's Hour, is 42 well-crafted minutes of sophisticated modern pop that fits somewhere between the spare beauty of the xx and the glittering pop of Chvrches. The group concocts a smoothly atmospheric sound that's built around swooning synths, clipped rhythms, and muted guitars, with a pronounced new wave influence, but also adding some nocturnal R&B and silky soft disco for good measure. Vocalist Fiona Burgess is the star of the show; she possesses a rich and relaxed voice that entices listeners with its calm beauty. Bassist Nicolas Graves makes a strong showing too, providing melodic underpinning to the hazier tracks and a subtle groove to those with some bounce. William Burgess' guitar work is also excellent, adding a little sparkly jangle to some tracks and hypnotic patterns to others. The sound they get is familiar, yet it sounds fresh in their hands. The subtle variations in the arrangements from song to song help with that; so does the tenderness inherent in Burgess' vocals. Most importantly, the bandmembers write some very pretty songs that have some real emotional impact. Slow and sad songs like "Unbroken Sequence" and "Two Sides of You" feel like there were definitely some tears shed somewhere in the writing process, "Devotion" has a heart-stoppingly bruised core that bursts free during the instrumental breakdown, and on "To the End" Burgess strips her defenses away and delivers her most powerful vocal performance. The songs that up the tempo and energy a bit add some nice dynamics to the album, and are more suited to radio play. Best of the lot is the title track, which ambles along like a Sade single, only with less jazz and more chillwave. The synth poppiest track on the album, "The Day That Needs Defending," shows another direction the band could go in with its tribal drums and big chorus. Conversations ends up a fine debut from the band, tightly focused and carefully constructed but still filled with plenty of understated heart.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/15/2014
Label: Secretly Canadian
UPC: 0656605031323
catalogNumber: 50313
Rank: 196783

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