Audrey Ryan - 'Thick Skin'

by MarkNicholls
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on 10 May 2012 in Albums & EPs
Record Label Folkwit
Rating 7/10

Audrey Ryan is picking up career traction after a near-decade of troubadouring with the likes of Beth Orton and Susanne Vega. This record follows fast on the heels of last year’s 'I Know, I Know'. ‘Lost & Lonely’ opens with an orchestra being dragged underwater, then surfaces for a piano-led lament with airy vocals and lonesome violins, before dragging the brass below again. ‘I Need The Blues’ is spacey, affecting short one with toe-tapping tingles over wispy country lyrics, merging into the title track which acts as a mission statement for the album: self-preservation against all odds. The beautiful ‘Way I Am’ continues this theme in the most moving track on the album and provides the best showcase for Ryan’s understated vocals and somewhat lo-fi instrumental soup. This style is consistent through the record, bringing to mind a more indie Abigail Washburn. Her voice has the lazily defiant quality of Barbara Manning but eager for a stadium audience, so willing to push for those high notes when required. Her storytelling muscles are flexed on the lengthy ‘Dangeling’ and ‘Four Blocks.’ A gently powerful album with glittering instrumental brilliance and melancholy in the lyrics. Plus there’s nothing sexier than a woman with a squeezebox.

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