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CHRIS WHILE & JULIE MATTHEWS "Higher Potential"
Fatcat Records FATCD 007

This duo have been enjoying quite a bit of success as well as critical acclaim recently. I think I'm right in saying that both have been, or are, members of the Albion band. I reckon Julie was part of the interesting Intuition with the two Kates and a couple of Deightons. They're currently touring this album and, if the live set is as good as this then "Higher Potential" should do pretty well.

"Everything Turns" provides a good rocking start which has you soon singing along, which is continued with "Tyre tracks in the snow" with its excellent blues feel. Julie takes lead vocals on the much slower "Angels walk among us". I really like "Two shades deeper than blue" with the electric guitar of P.J. Wright really at the forefront and excellent backing vocals making this a class track ---but then so is much of the CD. As I write this close to Remembrance Day "Love has gone to war" is particularly poignant but I would have preffered a real brass band---call me traditional, if you like, and I suppose it is difficult to tell the difference-- and Karen Tweed is playing on it, so never mind.

What we have here is a collection of songs written by Chris and Julie, sympathetically backed by class musicians, well recorded so the vocals are at the front, and all of which are worth a listen. If there was any justice in the world these two would be up there with the many female singers who seem so popular at the moment. In fact didn't Julie write a song about a tree for some well known Irish lady? It is probably not an album I would have rushed to buy I 'm really glad it dropped through my door as I've really enjoyed it. I think the next step is to get out and see them, especially if some festival can afford the band as well. A fun album.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 36 of The Living Tradition magazine.