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When Rivers Meet - Liberty (One Road Records)

This debut release from British duo When Rivers Meet, essentially husband and wife team Grace and Aaron Bond, shows some promise, especially in the duo's trump card, Grace Bond's instantly accessible and distinctive voice, emphasised in the delicate You Blinded Me. Most of the self-penned originals on LIBERTY, named for the duo's newly arrived niece, as well as the duo's new found freedom, sit well with the two well-known covers, an intimate Kris and Rita styled Suspicious Minds and an inventive minor key take on the old Johnny Cash standard Ring of Fire. Sadly, the two voices are not really made for one another and therefore there's no fantastic harmonies to speak of, in fact I'd go as far as to suggest - at the risk of coming over all Simon Cowell, which I am really loathe to do - that my money would be on bringing Grace into the spotlight throughout. Regrets & Lies, jars a little, enough for me to ponder why producer Chris West didn't talk the duo into leaving it out altogether, or at least to shift it from track four to the very end, it adds so little to the album. Grace Bond is in possession of a fantastic voice which needs to be heard and adopting a more Eurythmics musical ethos than a Sonny and Cher one would benefit the duo greatly. Having said that, Can't Pay My Way works well, with a rather splendid New Orleans jazz arrangement.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky