By The Couderhae Connection
A five track demo from a new (to me) acoustic duo is a very pleasant end to a good weekend. Ben Wetherill and Matthew Loveday provide two guitars, alternating voices, a bass guitar and a cello to show off five delicate and (mostly) well-made songs.
The first. "April 8th" is a live song from a Leeds Student Radio session. The wistful melody runs up against one or two clumsy lines "first you came up to my door frame (friend?)" and "another lucky day, another girl is laid upon the grass" and the two guitars are jinglingly repetitive through each verse. But it points in the right general direction, and the confident and expressive cello opening of "Dolores Haze" which follows banishes any doubt about whether the Counderhae Connection have got something to say. They definitely have.
"Name the road" at track three is a highlight, with a strong bass pattern offset by some finely played finger style guitar. There's a pretty melody and a gentle voice with a subtle sense of regret and yearning. This is good. I can imagine a talented percussionist adding a lot to this song.
"Rambling On My Mind" starts with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds chords, but then does a neat tempo shift and combines voices in a whispering country rock vein (the most gentle Everley Brothers you ever heard). Not a diamond but a little gem at least.
"Feel so Fine" has that clichéd walking bass that has decorated too many poor songs for it deserve any more airings. Some Chet Atkins guitar (a la Notting Hill Billies) is pretty well done. But it has been done by so many people so many times (and so much better) that's it's only really OK as an up-tempo set filler. The distinctive sound of the Couderhae Connection is in the middle three tracks. It's strongly recommended. And a special mention must go to the restrained and perfectly complementary artwork on the slip cover by 6048 graphic design: It's worthy of a Domino release.