Album review – March 2013

Although a child of native Derry, now resident Western Australia, there is an almost immediate sense that there’s something wickedly French-Canadian in this heady, eclectic special brew – check the eponymous opening track. Sure enough, the PR reveals that the family up-rooted to the Canadian East Coast when Ms Hardy was five years old. Think perhaps McGarrigles/Mary Margaret O’Hara? Her vocals are signature singular complementing her magpie influences be they Folksy/dreamy romance, unashamedly retro 60s bobby-sox romantic and even a splash of Ska. It’s strongly suggested that those of a more inquisitive nature, and you are to be encouraged to do so before a recommended purchase, ought dip into some of the tracks on her website.

An accomplished, most enjoyable debut album, a toe in the water sampler would have to be These Three Words. Its hazy-lazy/dream-dusted mantric vocals and stripped down acoustics might well have you imagining Anna Calvi gliding through the evening mists of Grantchester Meadows. Though Freedom’s vibrantly naughty Diva recklessness insists the girls don their Audrey Hepburn shades and get down to some cocktail-shakin’, pool-side swinging – of the more innocent variety, of course. Further explorations uncover even more subtle themes and nuanced perspectives. Recommended.

John Kennedy

Album review – Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Clear voiced singer songwriter with a big future.

Not yet will the bunting hang out for this delightfully sweet voiced native of Derry who currently resides in Fremantle Australia, but there are enough signs here that indicate a talent arriving.

‘Coming Down’ could be Carole Beyer Seger with its narrative and jaunty singing style, whereas the following track ‘Freedom’ has a similar narrative quality but is more rooted in the folk tradition of a yearning, keening quality. ‘1972’ is not a Josh Rouse cover but an almost hymnal paean that gently bursts into life. There is an echo of early Tori Amos with the piano and cello combination but this should not be seen as a criticism as the stately way the song unfolds is genuinely individual.

Where the album sometimes falters is the lack of variety within the song writing. There is a a great sense of whole but little sense of adventure within the songs. This may have been the nature of the production which took place over many miles as producer and artists exchanged emails and MP3s. This process may have encouraged caution over adventure, and as such the next album may well be the one to break this artist big.

Keith Hargreaves

Live Review, SXSW, Austin, Texas –  27 March 2009 

Thursday afternoon witnesses a sterling performance by Edinburgh based songstress Jennifer Hardy at Dominican Joes on South Congress.  The venue, an independent not-for-profit Café established to sell coffee direct from the Dominican Republic, provided an intimate setting and silent crowd for Hardy’s blend of poetic lyrics and ever enchanting and unique vocal style.