|The River Cry — The River Cry (2013)|
The River Cry — The River Cry
Born: May 30
¦¦¦¦ The River Cry is the debut album and solo project of former bass player of JJ72, Hilary Claire Woods. Recorded in West Cork in the winter of 2012, the record evokes a sparse cinematic landscape with sweeping timbres and beguiling quality. Steeped in mood driven atmospherics, tender vocals suffuse songs that travel on an emotive and textural journey of love and loss toward the sea.
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Album release: February 14, 2013
Record Label: Betrothed Records
01. While I Lie 3:47
02. Sleep Baby Sleep 4:01
03. To The Sea 3:24
04. Miaow 4:27
05. The Devil Knows 3:55
06. September Light 3:41
07. Honeymoon 2:34
08. Raise The Red Lantern 4:44
¦ All songs written and arranged by Hilary Woods
¦ Hilary Woods: Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Bass, Percussion, Vibraphone
¦ Jethro Pickett: Guitars, Lap-Steel, Percussion
¦ A Woods: Drums
¦ Cat Holland: Accordion
¦ Vincent Hurley & Paula Rogero Cuesta: Violas
¦ Hannah Conneely & Zachary Hickey: Violins
¦ Photography by Cat Holland
¦ A revelation in terms of the depth of songwriting. — The Sunday Times
¦ A stunning debut..a real ethereal pop delight. — Hotpress
¦ A lovely mannered sweep of slow-motion, subtle moods, atmospherics. — The Irish Times
¦ It’s a quiet, somewhat humble, record, short and well judged, evocative and occasionally weird. Intriguing, surprisingly arresting stuff' - Dara Higgins on former JJ72 bassist Hilary Woods' The River Cry. — Thumped
Stunning comeback from former JJ72 bassist...
¦ John Keegan, 27 Mar 2013
¦ 2013 has been a year of musical surprises. Think Bowie and My Bloody Valentine – plus the imminent arrival of some new Daft Punk material. Now, throwing her hat into that arena is former JJ72 bass player Hilary Woods.
¦ Almost 10 years ago to the day since leaving JJ72, she’s back as The River Cry. In the interim, Woods returned to Trinity College, gaining a Masters in film; on the evidence of this self-titled debut she also honed her songwriting skills to extraordinary new levels.
¦ Recorded on the Beara Peninsula during the winter of 2012, the eight songs evoke the spacious landscapes of the West Cork headland through minimal instrumentation, lush atmospherics, brooding melodica and plenty of coastal references. “Driven to the sea with the troubles of my tears,” she sings. A journey of love and loss inspired reflection by the ocean.
¦ The songs infuse and overlap to form one body. On highlights like ‘Honeymoon’ the sparse piano intro conjures up feelings of winter and wild coastal weather before Woods’ warming vocals and lofty atmospherics take you indoors to open-fire warmth and cosiness. Think Katie Kim or White Chalk PJ Harvey and you’re in the right area. A stunning debut.
by Sean Noone / on April 2, 2013 at 12:54 pm /
¦ When Hilary Woods left JJ72 in 2003 you could be forgiven for thinking it was a bad move. It was, after all, a band very much fronted by Mark Greaney who acted as vocalist, lead guitarist and chief songwriter. It’s not as though many bassists from such bands go on to achieve success after leaving (and don’t go pointing out Paul McCartney to me; you know that’s a special case).
¦ It may have taken ten years but Woods, under her guise as The River Cry, has proved that the woman voted Melody Maker’s Sexiest Woman in Rock in 2000 is more than just a pretty face. Debut album ‘The River Cry’ is evidence of that. The album, full of haunting pianos and vocals, may not be perfect, but is certainly intriguing for the 30 minute length of its running time.
¦ Openers While I Lie and Sleep Baby Sleep are almost nothing but sparse piano and echoed vocals that appear to be just about audible through the ether. The ethereal vocals maintain almost throughout but, as the album continues, more substance develops in the piano. Certainly, the second half of September Lights and all of Honeymoon seem to have a definite piano riff, while closer Raise the Red Lantern sees the piano played with a sense of purpose not there at the beginning of the album.
¦ That’s not to say that the start of the album is lacking, however. There is a enveloping dreamy quality to it and occasionally some brilliant lyrics. On While I Lie, a song about a break-up for example, Woods sings “If I’d have stayed out the vultures would have preyed on every thread I’m woven with.” To the Sea is perhaps the most atmospheric, sounding as it does like a dreamy walk through a haunted forest; the echoed spoken opening only adds to the feeling.
¦ It’s not all good though. Miaow, stuck in the middle of the album, is a bit of a meandering mess. Lyrics “The cats cry; can’t you empathise,” may work on their own, but the accompaniment of both Woods and a cat, well, miaowing makes the whole thing a bit too much to subscribe to.
¦ Its taste doesn’t linger however, and the ominously foreboding The Devil Knows is next up. The flat, repeating of guitar and the crashing of guitars and symbols cause a sonic storm that is hard to resist. As the lyrics go “The devil knows you won’t say no.” ¦ This almost overbearing behemoth of a song is perhaps the highlight of the album.
¦ For many, this album with prove a little to sparse and airy but, if you’re willing to accept these attributes, ‘The River Cry’ is for the most part a powerful and engaging effort. Woods’ musical career didn’t end with JJ72. Let’s hope The River Cry doesn’t end with this debut effort.
¦ I may have jumped to a quick conclusion on my former post. For anyone who’s a frequent reader of this blog, knows that thankfully not everything is about synth-pop. ¦ Actually, during the course of the year we’ve been posting some quite exceptional female vocalists, namely; VUM, Valentina and Violet (just to name a few). What these have in-common is an absolutely beautiful voice accompanied with sparse instrumentation. Hilary Woods’ solo project The River Cry is our latest addition to our ever growing group of astonishing vocalists. She’s the former bassist of the Irish folk-rock outfit JJ72 that about some 10 or so years ago gained some minor commercial success in their native country. But don’t expect The River Cry to sound anything like Wood’s former band. Instead, she reaches back into history, mixing “White Rabbit”-era psychedelia with Mazzy Star-like harmonies. But more than anything; it’s a timeless effort, spawning bitter-sweet emotions through the tenderness of her vocals, with nothing but a piano or a guitar trailing beside her. With the current times of digital and electronic abundance, we’re in need of more music like this.
Fortaken: http://ifoundmusic.com ///
© James Goulden
Written by Dara Higgins; Monday, 18 March 2013 21:46
¦ JJ72 may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, despite record sales suggesting otherwise, but ex bassist Hilary Wood’s solo album, released ten years after she packed in indie stardom, sounds not one iota like the bludgeoning teenage angst of the olden days. That’s a good place to start, then.
¦ Much could made of the location of the recording, the Beara Peninsula, and how the stark desolation of that place is reflected in the music. It’s true to an extent, but the music isn’t cold, or blowy and wet, and has zero German tourists. It sounds more like an unfurnished, old house, looking out across the roiling surf. The emptiness and exposure of the outside world is kept at bay.
¦ Opening track ‘While I Lie’ seems mournful, slow tempoed plodding on chords, accompanied only by a neat and tidy guitar line. It floats off toward the end with a brief flurry of violin, then dies. There’s something celebratory in this melancholy. The tone is set for the whole record, wistful and soporific, the kind of album you listen to on your own, late in the evening.
¦ ‘Sleep Baby Sleep’ uses the cymbals in an elemental way, surging up like surf under the muttered wail of the chorus. ‘To the Sea’, creates more imagery, the piano rolling in a way vaguely similar to the Cranes, way back when. Cymbals and guitar add to the effect, and then the strings wade in simply and sparely, and lift it up.
¦ ‘Miaow’ moves away from the piano for a bit, with a tremulous guitar and a timorous accordion, it sounds like there might be a Mexican standoff between artist and cat. Cats are like that, weird and needy and simultaneously standoffish, constantly clamouring for attention they don’t even want. ‘The Devil Knows’, is of an early Nick Cave ilk. Something plucked from The Firstborn Is Dead, including crashing drums and a simple line twanged on an acoustic string. With less posturing, of course. ‘Raise The Red Lantern’, where the album comes to its end, is about as rousing as it get, the piano chopping at the chords, the voice rising up briefly, before it all ends, almost as it began.
¦ There’s a wealth of influences appearing, wraith like, amid the muttering pianner. She manages to get them while somehow sounding like herself. Easy comparisons are the reverby emptiness of the Cowboy Junkies first record, but this lacks that despondency. ¦ It’s more of a sober Moon Pix, where none of the space created, nor notes hit, sound like happy accidents. Judging the silence, however brief, in songs is always far more difficult than creating tension with noise. The sparseness of the recording adds its own textures and layers. It’s a quiet, somewhat humble, record, short and well judged, evocative and occasionally weird. Intriguing, surprisingly arresting stuff.Sleep baby Sleep
Your voice invites mine to linger in its tone your mouth moving mine to comfort unknown raiding rivers deep and drowned in waters rise sleep baby sleep here right by my side. Your eyes solicit mine to have you in my hold your mouth moving mine to catch untold splintered common cry drowned in waters rise sleep baby sleep here right by my side. Your caress compels me to fasten to its rage your mouth moving mine to assuage aching native strides drowned in waters rise sleep baby sleep here right by my side.
To The Sea
To the Sea. Driven to the sea all your troubles and your tears longing for its arms to defy your fears waiting to be held and waiting to behold tender glances to belong in Listen to the sea through the long and lonely night longing for him home to hold you tight waiting to be held and waiting to behold warm embraces to belong in I want you to know that I have longed for your arms so don’t let me go.
|The River Cry — The River Cry (2013)|