WARD THOMAS - CARTWHEELS
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Release Date: 2nd September, 2016
Band Members: Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas
Location: Hampshire, UK
Record Company: WTW Music/Sony Music
We first met Catherine & Lizzy Ward Thomas at the wonderful Green Note, Camden back in late July 2014, just a few days after the release of their very successful independent debut album "From Where We Stand". After an impressive performance on the night, it was clear that these very talented sisters had a great future ahead of them. One of the most thrilling parts of what we do here at LCM is to see people that we have met, progress and grow musically in their careers, Catherine and Lizzy have certainly done that in the last couple of years. They were rewarded recently for all their hard work with a recording contract with Sony Music. We also feel too that their success couldn't have happened to two lovelier and talented people. 2015 was a real breakthrough year for UK Country and along with The Shires, Ward Thomas have been one of the leading lights. For the first time we have artists who can compete with US Nashville based Country artists. Taking the Nashville sound, giving it a UK spin and sending it back with interest. Almost like a new Country version of the 'British Invasion' of the 1960's and 70's. This continual Transatlantic sharing of ideas has created some of our favourite music past and present.
Their brand new second album 'Cartwheels' is excellent and one I'm sure Catherine and Lizzy are very proud of and rightly so. It is full of strong songs co-written with the sisters and highlights a new maturity from their debut album. From the up-tempo Country Pop crowd favourites to some beautifully written and reflective ballads. 'Cartwheels' was recorded by Oscar Winberg at Kensaltown Recording Studios in London. We highly rate the album, which as all great albums do, gets better on every play.
The album begins with the infectious, up-tempo and very positive 'Carry You Home'. A perfect slice of Country Pop. This very radio friendly track was the first single release from the new album.
'Almost Easy' would sit wonderfully on a Nashville TV series soundtrack. A beautifully written song with trademark blood harmonies and a sublime string section.
With a great Fleetwood Mac vibe, one of our album favourites is 'Material'. This is a real toe-tapper with it's finger clicks, electric guitar and driving percussion. It's one you will have on repeat.
The classy and reflective title track 'Cartwheels',. a tale of lost love and trying to save a relationship. Again a lovely string arrangement on this track. "I give, I give, I give, you never take. I bend, I bend, so we don't break.....I've been doing cartwheels, anything to save us....anything to make you notice me."
Their second single release 'Guilty Flowers' has a real retro pop rock feel about it. Reminding us of some of our favourite songs from the 80's, including Wilson Phillips and Heart. Another sure-fire hit and certain live crowd favourite for Catherine and Lizzy.
The very interesting 'Lose Me' could easily be a song about the music industry. '"I was so young and you were so hungry. You sold me a glittering run around. Gave you my secrets you promised to keep them. Turned them into weapons and shot me down. Don't look now I'm standing up...walking out, I've had enough!". The mood slows for the personal 'Good On You'. A relationship song about moving on. "You wear the years like a brand new jacket, I couldn't have given you. We put the past behind all of that sadness. I'm glad you have found something true. Love looks good on you." 'When It's Not Me' is another pure slice of Nashville Country Pop. Think Carrie Underwood meets The Dixie Chicks and The Wreckers. Great mandolin solo too. The infectious 'Boomerang' is another song about the problems of letting go of a relationship. "Though I try and forget you. There's a feeling I can't cut loose. And I'm trying my best to move forward....But I keep coming back to you". 'Dirt And Gold' is the kind of song you would love to listen to in an open top car cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway. A lovely optimistic sunny summer upbeat track. The piano led 'Where The Sky Is' encourages us to take time out of our busy lives to reflect and rebalance. To escape to the countryside...".where the air is clean and the the water's wide. Look the sky is right where it should be.......You and I are right where we should be" Continuing the relationship theme is 'Proof' about not initially seeing true love when it arrives. As the relationship grows it "becomes a revelation. Showing my heart a love that's true." A reflective song of self-discovery is the sublime 'Who I'm Not'. Staying true to yourself despite how others may try and influence you. Some lovely subtle piano and strings on this one.
Another classy song is 'Safe' about betrayal and finding a place of safe haven....."You are not what happened to you"
'Cartwheels' is a wonderful album and I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as we have. An excellent portfolio of songs from Catherine and Lizzy. We think the sisters have a very bright future ahead of them, leading the way for UK Country.