|Dimensions||22 × 16 × .50 cm|
CD REVIEW – Sam Burke & the Wifeys – by Chris Spencer
I guess only an all women band could get away with calling themselves Wifeys.
If I used the term wifey around this house, I’d soon get the runaround.
Based around the vocals, guitar and piano of the mainstay of the band, Burke, the other players utilise cello, double bass, mandolin, classical guitar, djembe, and violin.
The latter is the most dominant instrument on the album and it provides Burke’s songwriting with a distinctive sound.
All the instruments while remaining back in the mix, provide an interesting backdrop to the sound of this cd.
I’ve got to say that overall the sound is melancholy, sombre, downbeat and some listeners could find it depressing.
The Wifey’s are all classically trained, perhaps making this recording more mellow than what I’m used to listening to. Most of the songs are slow to medium and feature the strong, almost forceful voice of Sam’s.
The arrangements suit the mood or atmosphere that the band is trying to convey.
The use of mandolin and violin on “Black Crow” is effective, while track three, “Upstream”, features classical guitar picking that perhaps suggests a babbling brook.
I also enjoyed the vocal harmonies, particularly on “Another Day”.
It was only at the end of several listenings that I discovered there are no drums on this cd!
I found the band’s cover of Tiffany Eckhardt’s wistful “Think About You” a relief from the other tracks, probably because it was a song that is known to me and it had more melody.
Similarly their other cover on the cd, of The Muppets’ “Rainbow Connection”, while following closely the arrangement of the original, is another melodic song.
The band sound serious about the way they have recorded the song, and I wonder if on stage they approach the song in a different manner.
I also noted that on these two songs, cellist Monica Royal duets with Sam on “Think About Me” and has lead vocals on the 2nd.
Lyrically, Burke touches on relationships (“Black Crow”, “My Love will not Stay”); a grandmother (“Jay’s Song”); and the intrusion of multinationals and change in our local communities (“Sacred”); and makes observations on life (“Waiting for a Blackdog day” or “Newtown Café”).
This album is a strong debut, but may only appeal to those who like an album to set a mood, rather than entertain or amuse.
About the artist: Sam Burke is one of the rising stars on the Australian and international Folk scene. In 2008 she headlined festivals in Iceland, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Vanuatu on the back of her critically acclaimed debut Sam Burke and the Wifeys. She has supported Paul Kelly, Lisa Miller, Tiffany Eckhardt, Kieran Halpin, Penelope Swales and is a name to watch.
8 in stock (can be backordered)