Son & Moon
So We Sing
Boys leaves an almost perceptible post-twilight glow in the ears and that bittersweet sense that another day has drawn to a close.
My first listen to this second album from Cortney Tidwell came refreshingly out of context. My only prior knowledge of this Nashville singer/ songwriter deriving from Ewan Pearson's take on Tidwell's Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up. A ladybird, of sorts, deciding to land on your shoulder. Lovely and irresistible.
Titled after the boys in her life (her kids and husband), Boys bends genres delightfully, and is varied enough to be left on repeat for days. It holds the uncanny knack of being understated and is swooning enough to play over and over in the background. But Boys will also hit you with bursts of emotional intensity when you least expect it.
While hailing from a musician father and a former Miss Nashville runner-up mother, and growing up listening to Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Boys holds the best of any Nashvillesque influence at its heart. Simultaneously it runs for the hills with bouncing tracks like Watusii, already remixed by the likes of Simon Baker.
While Cortney's soaring and moonlit vocals are reminiscent of Australia's Sarah Blasko, or perhaps Norwegian Jenny Hval's short-lived but supremely beautiful stint as Folding For Air, the energy and drive behind the instrumentation recalls Bat for Lashes, Mazzy Star or even Sigur Ros. Cortney herself, however, sites her influences as the seasons, her dreams and her grandparents.
17 Horses gives an immediate burst of energy, with an emphasis on slightly abrasive guitars - a track that seems made for your next road-trip. The ethereal Oslo is a warm yet melancholic retreat into heartache and introspection for long winter nights. Solid State, the opening track, is the closest we get to tasting Nashville air;
big and wide sound with Cortney's awe-inspiring vocals firmly taking full reign amid the galloping strings. Oh, China is a lush and tuneful tendril to curl up the spine, and is not a far cry from Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up from her debut.
All in all, Boys leaves an almost perceptible post-twilight glow in the ears and that bittersweet sense that another day has drawn to a close. A little pang of nostalgia, a little pang wonder for the night ahead. Bonfires are being
lit on the horizon.
Having already received rave reviews for her self-titled debut album, this supremely accomplished follow-up might just push Cortney into well-deserved wide recognition.