Hannah Peel – The Broken Wave

We recently interviewed the lovely Hannah Peel. If that whetted your appetite to hear more from her (and why wouldn’t it?) then the exciting news for you is that her debut album is set to drop at the end of this month.

The Broken Wave certainly showcases Peel’s talents as a multi-instrumentalist – she plays pretty much everything on it – but, more than that, it happily proves what a fine songwriter she is. Amid structures that range from experimental to stripped-back via folk-pop, she mixes themes of falling in and out of love with tales of everyday triviality and does so in a way which manages to find a balance between being interesting and unfussy. The same can be said of her voice, which is arresting yet laconic. There is no showing off here – no vocal gymnastics – just a beguiling, pretty delivery.

The creation of The Broken Wave saw producer Mike Lyndsay (Tunng) bring his own inimitable energy to the recording process. According to Peel, if Lyndsay didn’t dance around the studio when they were laying down a track, it was left on the cutting room floor. On top of that, he added his voice to You Call This Your Home.

The result of Peel and Lindsay’s recording sessions is a record that doesn’t so much transcend genres as not really worry about them in the first place. Sure, Peel’s Irish folk roots are certainly evident on Cailin Deas Cruite Na Mbo, the brass elements of You Call This Your Home point towards time spent in Yorkshire and some of the catchiest melodies perhaps lend themselves to being a part of the music scene in Liverpool, but the truth of the matter is that The Broken Wave is an album so fine that it’s kinda pointless spending too much time trying to pigeonhole it. Just put it in your ears and enjoy it.

If you want some idea of her sound, then Peel’s own description of “Wonky Folk Pop” will do just fine. Wonky or not though, there is no denying that this is a quite, quite lovely record.

Review by Rob Townsend