"Walk Away Walk Away" is the first collaborative work of two well-established artists in Britain’s alt-folk scene, Gill Sandell and Chris TT. The album is a collection of 10 cover versions, hand picked from folk to pop and rock genres and I can honestly say that I've been waiting for this one for a while now.
The list of tracks is completed by one and only one original composition named “Autumn seed”. The song recreates and heals the sadness of a separation with a sweet melody and touching vocals by Gill and sits particularly well with the overall musical atmosphere of the album.
My curiosity to listen to the duo’s performance was triggered by just reading the track titles, among them there are some classic pieces that I was longing to listen to after Gill and Chris had got their hands on them.
The album kicks off with a little bit of romantic story-telling that goes way back in 1975. The “Time of a Preacher”, originally performed by Willie Nelson, seems to be revitalised by Chris' distinct vocals, softly instrumented by Gill’s accordion that sets the scene of the journey about to unfold. The second track transforms the mighty rhythm of “Tomato in the Rain” by Kaiser Chiefs to more acoustic and sensuous levels. The cover establishes a good beat from the first second with a positive, tuneful melody and Gill’s warm lead vocals followed by Chris' on the choruses. After three minutes of solid drums in “Tomato in the Rain”, a light and dreamy sound takes ground. Our duo performs in a lower tempo the “Birds” of Neil Young and share a feeling of hope with the touching and harmonious vocals by Gill, again accompanied by Chris who leads the next one.
“Runaway” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. A 'trippy' cover with powerful vocals filled by Gill’s immersive accordion that really got me as it develops gradually and is enriched further by a distorted guitar. “Runaway” leads to a song about freedom named “Cactus tree”. Its original counterpart is performed by one of my favourite artists, Joni Mitchell and I could say that the cover was a surprisingly pleasant one. Lead by a compelling acoustic guitar and enhanced by Gill’s silvery voice, their take on this classic produces an appropriate tune for this bittersweet song.
The next track follows the same optimistic tone but now it's Chris’ turn to lead with a strong, distinct and high-pitched voice. The “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen is cultivated by a distorted electric guitar and an unfolded accordion that produce a well-shaped melody. The album progresses with a cover of an 80’s pop song, “I Walk the Earth” by Voice of the Beehive. The upbeat instrumentation, punchy drums and strong vocals by Chris help to accelerate the tempo, culminating in a really edgy ending. The journey continues by adding a contemporary touch and a higher tempo to a classic song from the 60’s, “500 Miles” by Peter, Paul and Mary’s. Soft guitar, whistles and heartfelt vocals by Gill shape a nostalgic scene. Yet the exchange of lead vocals between the two talented friends add a sense of imagination and hope that blend nicely with the overall evoked nostalgia.
“Hit the Ground Running”; that one was a real hit. Dry and solid drums are building a slightly varied tempo from the original one by the band Smog. Thought-provoking lyrics provided by Chris’ dynamic voice that I would also describe as 'explosive' towards the end. The album concludes its proposed journey of meditation and thoughtfulness with a 50’s song by Andy Williams, “Lonely Street”. The cover seems to strip the “noise” of the initial recording and fill the gaps with a melodic, elegant piano accompanied by Gill’s immersive accordion and sweet vocals that suggest a compassionate ending.
The entire album flows like a story despite the fact that it draws upon various themes and genres and among others, it kept its promise that it will present "Loyalty and loss. People coming apart. Wild spaces. Loneliness versus solitude. A long drive alone through a thunderstorm. And today’s nomadic life – hi tech, yet old fashioned”. This is a highly polished production demanding your attention, so go give it a listen, we think you'll love it!
Review by Eirini Gialou