Hawthorn Avenue's debut EP' Wildfire', is an impressive first-offering from the South Wales duo. Produced to perfection, the duo have a fully orchestrated quartet of finely-crafted Country/Pop numbers.
Before we get in to it, you know you're off to a good start when a release opens with a Hammond.
I loves me a Hammond.
'Raised Me Better' kicks off the EP. A stately and expansive composition with understated harmonies throughout that give the track a delightful spaciousness. The significant production does nothing to diminish the touching quality to the intimate, personal lyrics and allows for them to sit neatly on top of the mix with oodles of clarity.
Moving on to 'Fade Away', the EP's dynamic drops down further into decidedly Fleetwood Mac meets Civil Wars-esque territory. The unison vocals throughout blossoming beautifully into perfectly orchestrated harmonies that are arranged to great effect throughout the track to lend weight to certain refrains. Spacious and scrumptious, I particularly enjoyed the subtle, uncomplicated acoustic guitar solo. I'm not a 'solo' kind of guy, but the call-and-response of the acoustic and bright, slightly Tremolo'ed electric is a gorgeous addition to the composition.
'The Water's Edge', continues to bring down the dynamic. A low-key, sweetly arranged ballad with a nicely chosen analogy running throughout that wouldn't look amiss in a James Taylor/Carol King collaboration.
We've reviewed the title track previously, which is honestly a perfect closer for the EP, and on this return listen - and I'm quite possibly I'm into triple figures now... - it proves no exception. It's a confident number, surprisingly nuanced, and those glistening, driven guitar melodies throughout provide a cutting edge to the track that serves to neatly and memorably bring the EP to a close.
by Joe Bayliss