Music is a strange thing. While one song can make you want to get up and dance, another song may come along and reduce you to tears. But, when it comes down to it, every song is the exact same thing – a collection of sounds that when pieced together create a piece of art, pleasing to the ears of the consumer. Woman’s Hour are a four-piece band hailing from Kendal, currently based in London, that have got the art down to at and their debut album ‘Conversations’ echoes this perfectly.
Album opener ‘Unbroken Sequence’ features looping electronics and blissful synths as delicate yet sultry vocals deliver light choruses with dark undertones. “If I rest, I break and resist / would it be better for you?” questions front woman and vocalist Fiona Jane Burgess, adding an almost submissive romanticism which as a feeling continues throughout the album.
The slightly more upbeat title track ‘Conversation’ opens with funky bass lines and rhythmic guitars, creating an unusually soothing sound. Hints of a lyrical darkness come through lines such as ‘awkward moments of strange affection / that could have been shared with anyone else / not that that it helps’, revealing a sense of cynicism.
Naturally, ‘Darkest Place’ is the most haunting track on the album (lyrics: ‘if there’s anything left, we left it dead’) opening with an eerie ambience before progressing into a chorus of electronics and drumbeats. This track is slightly more up-tempo to the prior tracks, juxtaposing the dark lyrical values, however manages to keep a sombre tone, similarly to later track ‘Her Ghost’.
‘In Stillness We Remain’ is a complete contrast, opening with butterfly synths, rolling drums and glittering guitars it holds a mellow tone, whilst the hushed delivery of heartfelt lyrics ‘take me I will follow’ and ‘I will be your shadow’ draw you into the unfolding love story. ‘Our Love Has No Rhythm’ is essentially the follow up to this song, drawing the story out and laying it down over a progressively delicate track detailing the clumsiness of newfound love. This gives the album an organic feel, which continues as ‘Two Sides Of You’ and ‘Devotion’ follow lyrically.
Opening with ascending and descending electronics ‘The Day That Needs Defending’ features almost ethereal vocals, gradually layering up with additional instrumentations yet keeping it to an absolute minimum ‘you turn your back to the cold / and walk away from my bitter rage’ croons Burgess and on lyrics like this you really feel the music consume you as it plays so vigilantly with your emotions like a puppet on a string.
As a whole, the album allows Woman’s Hour to draw you into the melodic, minimalist, dream-pop. Having formed in 2011 and only just releasing their debut album in 2014, it’s clear that these 3 years of silence were well spent, fine tuning the bands sound and creating layer upon layer of heavenly instrumentals. The 11 tracks featured on ‘Conversations’ work together as a package, flowing easily between tracks and allowing you to appreciate the music without awkward pauses or interruptions. In fact, if you click the repeat button it’s indefinite that you will find yourself listening to the album over and over, wrapped up in your own little world – a definite success for Woman’s Hour.