‘Personae’ - Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman - explorations of tradition, interpretation of originality(March 19, 2018)
Needing no introduction whatsoever, the sound is distinctive, original and immediately identifiable.... not words you could use to describe just any duo. This time it’s their fifth studio album ‘Personae’, and with it Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman have created something that moves from joyous to lamenting, through observational to reflective.
The songs subtly change mood and direction as the album progresses... the overall feel moves through a collection of narratives whose tales receive close and personal attention ... in which case, there are no surprise in the album title. The explorations of tradition ride alongside interpretation of originality and the divining of different, and all the while, whichever twist, turn and new direction is taken, they pull you along with them.
Opening with their own folk rock interpretation of ‘The Knight’s Ghost’ they lead into the honest assessment and revealing truth of ‘Independence’, from there they investigate the founding legend of Antwerp through ‘Tribute Of Hands’ before delivering a stunning take on Sandy Denny’s ‘Solo’. The arresting beauty and haunting vocals of ‘Seasons’ moves into the macabre and faintly disturbing story of ‘The Street Of Cats Who Dance’, then there’s the mournful lament ‘Boney’s Defeat’ and to close they reveal another inscrutable tale with ‘Goddess Made Flesh’.
‘Personae’ remains an album for which the word ‘perfect’ is perfectly accurate.
Review: Tim Carroll