‘Broken Conversations’ from The Hard Ground - folk, rock and a bluesy edge(March 20, 2013)
The album ‘Broken Conversations’ from The Hard Ground exudes a mix of images that makes you want to share the experiences because you know it was a trip not to be missed. Their songs offer folk that rocks with gutsy blues dynamism, coated with haunting strings, featuring layered vocals and captivating arrangements.
The alternate vocal alliance and duel between Marlene Enright and Pat Carey carries the power and thrust of their songs, which move effortlessly from exuberance to bleakness, expectation to darkness. These twin lead vocals give their personal narratives a theatrical edge that channels the songs into attention-grabbing illustrations and exchanges with a drive through punchy percussion and bass overlaid with brass accents and guitar breaks.
The mellow hook of ‘Pawn’ offers a rather relaxed introduction to their sound but it builds to a sense of what’s in store. Beyond that there’s the hypnotic groove of ‘Dance of a Lady’ full of seductive warnings and the gruff honesty of ‘Bad Faith’ – you get the distinct feeling you’re overhearing a couple fighting with communication breakdown in a failing relationship. Hard stuff indeed. As is the emptiness of despair wrapped in the lyrics of ‘Drinking To Heaven’ – those voices perfectly tell the story and the interplay between brass, guitar and strings is priceless. Then if you want sheer haunting presence there’s ‘Back Road’ – superbly moody, filled with emotion and awash with evocative echoes.
You can find ‘Broken Conversations’ here: www.thehardground.com ... and I think you should.
The Hard Ground is Marlene Enright (vocals, piano, glockenspiel) Pat Carey (vocals, guitars) Dave Duffy (bass, Hammond organ) and Davie Ryan (drums, percussion).
Reviewer: Tim Carroll