FRIENDS AND ENEMIES, LOVERS AND STRANGERS
CLAY PIPE MUSIC
Originally printed in Now Then Magazine Issue 89
On an emotional and pretty sing-along folk album, Sharron Kraus delivers a delicious vocal with an acoustic guitar backdrop. The gentle picking of fretted notes drop like rainfall on us and, with subtle additions of keys and wind, interesting and sometimes heartbreaking melodies, the weather of the record is set to 'sunny tempest'. Somewhere is a rainbow. We know it must be there, but it often sneaks away from view. Our periphery occasionally catches a snippet of red or violet, but for the most part we are confronted with the light pitter-patter of grooves in the dragon snap grove.
What captures me most is the near perfect echo of the acid folk scene of 40 years ago. Though the organic instruments and time-honoured scales make the ingredients to this delicate record, the result is just as fresh and relevant now as it was then. The cake rises and the colours of the mixture greet us as sonic aromas and spine tingling anticipation. Words of bardic verse are drizzled like honey over the skeleton of music which forms a sweet and glistening body of sound. A progression from pretty to melancholy, from the mysterious world of cognitive resonance to beauty, clears the way for emotional words from a personal place that reminds me of meadows and mountains.
This album is one for the road, or for late afternoon feet-up time. A totally relaxed path from a tinge of tension back into musical tranquillity is perfect to add mood. More than background, more than music for airports, Sharron Kraus grants us a listener's eye view on a given story and, if we choose to, we can discover the soul of each piece.
Chapter-like songs spill stories against the flow of bars. 'My Friend’s Enemy' and 'Branwen' cast spells over the notations like fairy tales. 'Stranger in Your Land' finishes up a solid selection of tunes and, with a final twist of the magical guitar, a layered vocal pattern begins to play with our perception of the entire thing. Let’s listen again.