Sonnet Cottage are certainly aptly named, the image brought to mind by the words well in line with the alternative folk band sound made by Rachel and Torey Russell.
Their first album “Another Time” was released in 2012 and received some great acclaim. They have since been joined by guitarist Buddy Speir for their latest album “Half Written Story” which released in June 2015 and on which the bulk of this review will focus.
“Half Written Story” is an album with a relaxed and introspective pace that has a mostly upbeat feel to it, but when it does get a little sad, wraps the listener in warm acoustic guitar melodies and honeyed lyrics. The individual tracks show enough eclecticism to keep the listener engaged. Some feature different lyrical devices, such as Scarborough Fair in which the next line of the song is begun before the last one has reached its end. This creates a great sense of rhythm that is a pleasure to listen to. Other tracks feature things like recorded ambient sound, Half Written Story matching the subway themed lyrics with sounds of an actual crowd in places. I enjoyed this very much and it was something I wasn’t expecting.
The lyrics themselves vary from themes of love lost and isolation to more upbeat and optimistic tales. I particularly enjoyed the last track Find A Way, a steel drum infused track with lyrics that pay homage to famous icons like Bob Marley and Dr. King, throwing in religious phrases like Kumbaya and Namaste. There are also variations in pace in the tracks, slower quieter ones to more spritely energetic ones. The one constant throughout are the lovely vocals and high quality sound of the music. Every note and emotional flourish is clearly audible, with no distracting muddying factors to distract the listener.
What we have in “Half Written Story” is a fantastic album that would be the perfect accompaniment to any kind of day or activity, a suitable track for the situation around you more than likely findable amongst the eleven that make up its number. You can find out more information about Sonnet Cottage on their website at this link.