29 Sept 2014

Album Review: Lutine "White Flowers"

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

"White Flowers" is quite the debut from the Brighton based folk duo of Emma Morton and Heather Minor. On paper, Lutine seem like an odd choice for release on the Front & Follow label ( who I associate more with hauntologial left-field electronica), but Morton and Minor are not your everyday folk duo, as those who listen will quickly discover.

These songstresses, while still deeply rooted in traditional English folk song ( to the point where I had to check several times to see whether I was listening to an original or a Childe ballad) are very obviously a product of the 21st Century, and have as much in common with the Finders Keepers stable (Emma Tricca, Jane Weaver) as they do Anne Briggs or the Collins sisters. Sinister drones often lurk just audibly under the surface of their vocals, creating a suitable sense of unease for their dark, mysterious tales of murder and misfortune. Moody electric piano, zither and cello also help to recontextualise these ancient folk forms into something more malleable and contemporary.

And I haven't even mentioned their voices yet, which intertwine with a natural ease; Heather's dexterous tones joining Emma's soprano at invariably the right moment to heighten the drama, or sugarcoat the delivery of a particularly heartwrenching line. Quite marvelous.

Fans of Beth Gibbons, Anne Briggs and This Mortal Coil will find much to enjoy here, as will those who wish the Unthanks would try their hand at something a little darker and grittier.

"White Flowers" is available on CD, and digital download..

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