Gillian Fleetwood and Fraya Thomsen - The Duplets - ‘Leverage’(March 11, 2012)
There’s a certain magic in the Highlands of Scotland, it’s a realm where mists, mountains and mystery combine to create a unique world. It’s easy to feel the reverence for the essence of that legacy in the exhilarating music of Gillian Fleetwood and Fraya Thomsen. As the duo The Duplets, they craft captivating, enthralling tunes. Their second album ‘Leverage’, released in spring 2012, combines harp and song like never before.
The mix is rich and enduring, from the opening song - Fraya’s inspired rendition of ‘A Man’s A Man For A’ That’ by Robbie Burns - you are instantly captivated by clear, fragile vocals and delicate, piercingly beautiful strings. There’s the rising energy of ‘Surtsey’ that celebrates the dramatic birth of that fiery island and the Fleetwood original ‘Paris’ with its mournful narrative of pain, desertion and lost love. And of course there are still the wonderful harmonies of ‘Garry Porch’s' to enjoy.
The instrumentals range from the lilting beauty of ‘Irish Set’ designed to lift your soul, through ‘The Banks of Ness/ Euro Jig’, and the inspired melody ‘A Game for Two to Play’ by Andy Thorburn. This feast of exquisiteness continues with ‘Granny’s Parting Gift’ arguably the most moving, emotive music I’ve heard in years – it’s positively delicious. Then again, should you wish to surrender your spirit completely listen to ‘Morning Bells’ and that runs it a close second.
There’s a fresh simplicity to this album – it’s an outbreak of sparkling gems, clear glittering droplets in a pure mountain stream, it is fragile notes born a gentle breeze – taken together, it is sheer unadulterated brilliance. The Duplets move deftly between the depth of their Scottish traditional heritage and the scope of their musical potential. The Duplets will go from strength to strength – no doubt about it.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll