Review Archive

‘Stick or Twist’ from Elliot Hall and Rapunzel - its essence will linger in your head

(June 18, 2014)

I’ve spent the last few days listening to an album called ‘Stick or Twist’ from Bristol-based duo, Elliot Hall and Rapunzel albumElliot Hall and Rapunzel – and having spent 30+ years writing about folk in all its forms, this will be meat and drink to lovers of Americana folk. Intense, visceral music, powerful primal vocals, messages delivered with gut-wrenching fearlessness and an impression that all this stems from somewhere deep inside. And were it not for the fact that I know this album originated in the south west of England, I’d bet on it hailing from the other side of the pond. Having said that, there’s also an Anglo alt-folk edge that consistently beams through. So are you confused? Don’t be, just absorb this instinctive music.

Between them, Elliot and Rapunzel take the smoky-room, rare-steak, bourbon-laced sound of his voice and weave in the softer, country-edged sound of hers to concoct a powerful brew - one you’ll want to taste again and again. In fact, when you listen to this music be ready for its essence to linger in your head for days.

You’re taken in immediately with the connection between their voices relating the hard narrative of ‘Heartbreaker’, the laid-bare truth in the powerful ‘Before I Die’ and the burgeoning atmosphere of ‘Rivers of Gold’. There’s individual expression and insistent understanding - ‘Music’  with its angst-ridden, semi-spoken narrative, the bitter realisation and sad acceptance of ‘Cold’  that cuts like a razor with lyrics that hit so hard: “… this loneliness cuts like flu” and the affecting memories of ‘Hand Upon The Plough’.

Original songs working through passionate vocals, tight-laced harmonies soaring over guitars, mandolin, harmonica and percussion. These songs spare no pain, no heartache, you’re there with them, feeling what the artists feel. And that my friends is what makes a damn fine song; add together 14 of them and you have a damn fine album – and that’s ‘Stick or Twist’.

Available for download from Bandcamp or though

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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