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Catherine Feeny - Hurricane Glass

Catherine Feeny, Hurricane Glass

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

CATHERINE Feeny is a rapidly emerging singer-songwriter whose intimate style is rapidly turning heads in all the right places.

Born in Philadelphia but now living in Norfolk, Catherine became influenced by music at an early age and draws on influences such as Joni Mitchell, The Smiths, PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth and Sinead O’Connor.

Her debut album, Hurricane Glass contains plenty of traces of those artists, as well as the likes of Sheryl Crow and Suzanne Vega (who she recently supported).

It’s a deeply introspective album that focuses on personal struggles and complex relationships – but never in an overly depressing way.

Some of the songs are slow building and borderline sombre but there are some genuinely warm melodies as well, which give rise to several album highlights.

One of them is undoubtedly the shimmering piano ballad, Mr Blue, which entrances you immediately with its delicate chords and tantalising vocals.

The track has already been snapped up for the soundtrack of the new Gwyneth Paltrow/Annette Bening film, Running With Scissors, after the director heard it on Nic Harcourt’s influential LA morning radio show while driving to the film set.

With its lovely lyrics (“Mr Blue, I told you that I love you, please believe me”), delivered in a wonderfully bittersweet style, the track drifts along in delightful fashion, even injecting some excellent flugel horn from Dave Land late on.

There’s some enchanting flute on Always Tonight, another highlight, that contains a breezy acoustic style reminiscent to Suzanne Vega. It’s a warm sounding track that belies the torment contained within the lyrics – “I’m sitting on top of the my hands, watching the world go by, tapping my feet on the floor, wondering, wondering why things don’t work out right”.

The politically-minded Unsteady Ground is another strong offering, offsetting some hard-hitting words (“the children don’t know yet that we’re bombing Baghdad”) with some lush instrumentation (including mandolin, accordion and acoustic guitar).

Indeed, one of the strongest features of the album is Feeny’s ability to enliven otherwise straight-forward acoustic ballads with smart stabs of instruments such as flutes, strings and mandolins. It means that paying close attention pays huge dividends for the listener.

Other highlights include the shimmering title track, Hurricane Glass, which rocks things up a little and drops some feisty, Sheryl Crow-style vocals, and the poignant final track Forever, which once again excels in its choice of instrumentation by adding a Wurlitzer and some more mandolin to the mix.

Hurricane Glass is therefore an utterly enchanting listen that looks set to turn Feeny into a household name. It certainly deserves to.

Find out more about Catherine Feeny

Track listing:
1. Touch Back Down
2. Mr Blue
3. I Still Don’t Believe You
4. Always Tonight
5. Hush Now
6. Radar
7. Unsteady Ground
8. Hurricane Glass
9. No Reply
10. Forever