This might be the first time an artist has been reviewed twice, though I can’t be certain. Even so, the last one was a concert review, whilst here I talk about a new album. So I guess that’s still different. Full disclosure: These two are long-time friends of mine, so I may not be the best objective judge but I will do my best:
As any former reader of this blog knows, I have a soft spot for the fiddle and all things Celtic. Hence, when I heard that my pals Qristina and Quinn Bachand were releasing their first album in almost four years, well needless to say I was giddy with excitement. In many ways, a band’s third album can often be the toughest one to make. There are certain things one wants to do and one doesn’t, yet finding that balance between creative growth and making a record that is also worth listening can be as delicate as walking a tightrope. With Little Hinges this brother-sister duo from Victoria succeeds in every way.
While officially a Celtic band, Qristina and Quinn have expanded both their musical knowledge and taste and their overall level of quality. The first half of the album sounds very much like traditional celtic fare with jigs such as “The Bachand Jigs” and “The Welcome Farewell Set”. The lament “Crooked Jack” features a much slower atmospheric melody, accompanied by Qristina’s haunting vocals, and is one of many songs to feature one or both of the siblings singing.
On the second half of the album, we really get to experience their maturity as they delve into the more experimental, post-Celtic (is that even a thing) world of “Three Little Babes”, “Saint Nothing” and “Hang Me”, which features lovely tandem singing by the two. The melancholy instrumental “Never Goodbye” is the perfect partner to the lyrical content. But don’t worry, this record will still leave you feeling happy as the pair ends things with the upbeat “Hangman’s Reel”.
Little Hinges shows the unbelievable growth these have made, but it should not be that surprising. At 18, Quinn is on a full scholarship at a music school in Boston and also fronts the gypsy jazz band “Brishen”. At 24, Qristina has been living in Amsterdam, where she was studying for her M. Sc in Infectious Diseases. They have also toured all over Europe, Canada and the States. Not bad for a couple of island kids.
Little Hinges, which the siblings self-produced along with Adrian Dolan and Joby Baker, will be released on January 15, 2015. It is currently available for a discount download on their website http://www.qbachand.com.
RIYL: The Rankins, Leahy, Barra MacNeils