Singer Irene Serra dominates the sound of -isq fronting an acoustic trio of former Neil Cowley Trio double bassist Richard Sadler, pianist John Crawford and drummer Chris Nickolls completing the personnel.
Recorded in Kent in January last year it’s second time around for the band following on from their self-titled debut released in 2012. There are eight band-written songs here, in a pop and world-weary singer/songwriter-type style essentially, pianist Crawford stretching out a bit in his New Melodic jazz piano manner even if there is little real improvisational scope apart from more obviously on ‘Light and Shade’ the last track. Hooky well delivered riffs are more to the fore and although the overall sound is a bit bland in places, particularly in the early part of the album, where Too does score as the album progresses is on songs such as ‘As I Lay You Down,’ the trio rising to the challenge the subtle arrangement of this song in particular demands, Serra mournfully leaning towards a slight Kate Bush-like inflection within her own characteristically dolorous style. ‘Tears of a Clown,’ for me the best track, with a bass riff that sounds like the melody of the title line of Paul Weller’s ‘You Do Something To Me’ before diverting into a very different bluesy space is worth lingering over and hitting replay.
The album is to be launched with a gig at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London on 29 April