‘If …’ by Chapin-Wickwar - so close to gorgeous the result is exquisite

(July 21, 2015)

There’s a subtle attraction to the debut album ‘If…’ from acoustic duo Chapin-Wickwar. Within it’s lusciously delivered, superlatively sensitive songs it holds a physical magnetism that’s extremely hard to avoid, and indeed why would you? With something this emotionally rich and powerfully candid there’s never the desire to break the connection. Built around a delicate touch of rhythm and finger-style guitar chapin-wickwar 001and perfectly matched vocal harmonies with no audible distance between the voices, Lisa and Sue Chapin-Wickwar have with ‘If…’ created something that’s so close to gorgeous the result is exquisite.

Opening with ‘Into Crazy’ they reveal the depth of their musical partnership, smoky, succulent harmonies and an instrumental symbiosis with a natural closeness that few duos achieve. There’s a harder vocal edge within the directness and strength of songs like ‘Purple Love’ and ‘Sorry’ before the intense narrative of the title track ‘If …’ prompts a sharp longing that’s there in the room with you. There’s a truth to these songs that might be personal to the artists but their naked honesty will uncover moments you’ll have to share. There’s the warm feeling of expectation within ‘Bring Me Home’ - you cannot listen without feeling it, then there’s affecting sorrow of ‘Broken’, while the sparse instrumentation and evocative vocals of ‘Castles In The Sand’ are simply stunning.

Seldom does an album finish and you’re compelled to immediately listen again. This one was repeated continuously for days, its hold is that powerful. Were I to make a suggestion about this album it’s that you share in the unadorned emotion of ‘If …’ it will be utterly worth it.

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Review: Tim Carroll

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