Feisty debut album that puts the Alt into Country
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; even in this age of the download a good album cover will attract the curious music fans; even on a website and I would certainly have checked out the contents of Razor Wire just on the cover alone; and the photo in the centerpiece would have made just as good a cover, too.
So; you ask, does the music stack up? Hell Yes!
Hannah appears to have had a bit of an interesting life herself (famous parents who divorced acrimoniously/alcoholic/rehab/sober/married/divorced/unmarried mother/college/debut at the Bluebird Café) yet she feels the need to inhabit a ‘secondary character’ to write and perform her songs.
For someone relatively new to the business (she wrote her first song at 21) Hannah Aldridge’s songs are all deep, intelligent, inciteful and very, very powerful; she certainly never feels sorry for herself.
RAZOR WIRE opens with a rocking anthemic break-up song You Ain’t Worth The Fight and it would have me scared on dark nights if I was the man she is singing about.
This is immediately followed by the Twangtastic Old Ghost in which she sort of inhabits the character of the man in the previous song; ‘I sleep with one eye open/like a man out on the run/her memory’s creeping right back into this bed’ and her backing band; do her proud with an eerie thumping beat throughout.
The only cover version is actually an Isbell song, Try which needs to be played loud as Aldridge’s voice needs to be heard as she makes the song her very own; even though she is backed by Isbell’s very own 400 Unit.
I can’t resist an opening line like “I miss you like morphine straight to my veins” and the rest of the harrowing Lie Like You Love Me doesn’t disappoint either – conjuring up memories of Lucinda 10 or 12 years ago.
After all that glowing praise I still haven’t told you about my two favourite songs; have I? On Howlin’ Bones Hannah combines reverb heavy guitar interplay with a superb Delta Blues vocal performance – trust me; this is one the finest songs you will hear this or any other year.
Then; Aldridge takes a hard left turn for the melancholy, Black and White which is a person of indeterminable age looking back on their life, when everything seemed better and appears Black and White in their memory. I’ve certainly had those moments and I guess you have too; only mine don’t have superb wailing guitars and electric guitar as a soundtrack.
I’d not heard of Hannah Aldridge before listening to Razor Wire but; trust me here, we all will by the end of the year. A truly outstanding debut record.
Released June 16th 2014