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Madam Tsunami - Long Way From Home (Self Release)

The graceful, fiddle-led instrumental that opens LONG WAY FROM HOME might well suggest an album of gentle, airy folk tunes. However, what follows this arresting intro is a collection of foot-tapping songs, infectious melodies and compelling lyrical inventions. Led by Aberdeen-based Kiwi musicians Adam and Coralie Usmani, Madam Tsunami is an acoustic quintet that succeeds in blending traditional folk music with engaging lyrics on such subjects as love, longing and living far from home.

The title track of this, the band's second album, opens a sweetly melancholic photo album of childhood and a home that now lies thousands of miles away, complete with a melody that tempts us to hum along. It's this knack for catchy refrains and sing-along choruses that lends this album its enduring charm, especially during the wonderfully upbeat Plot On The Moon and the spellbinding Cinderella, with its bluesy piano solo and tasteful minor turnarounds. There are also some very satisfying moments of dust-kicking bluegrass such as Shot Down and Man On The Run, both incorporating those aforementioned catchy choruses and notably elaborate fiddle lines courtesy of Coralie.

Each of these well-constructed songs benefits from Adam's sandy vocals and Coralie's angelic harmonies, not to mention the latter's elegant fiddle and the former's pristine acoustic guitar. Innes Cardno provides the mischievous mandolin, Ross Ainslie plays pipes while Stewart Wilson's bass and Simon Gall's piano and percussion keep the whole thing firing along very nicely indeed.

Liam Wilkinson
Northern Sky