This self-titled sophomore album from Brooklyn-based songwriter Cariad Harmon has all the pop appeal required to be a surprise hit
olk songwriter Cariad Harmon is the product of geographical dichotomy. Born to English mother and American father, she spent her youth in London before upping sticks to New York. Cariad Harmon is the follow-up to her 2009 debut album Four Letters, and sees her nestled between the warmth of American soft rock and quirky frailty of English folk.
Opener Every Time allies the mournful warmth of Bread to the autumnal glaze of Laura Marling, underpinned by a sprinkling of the twinkling pop of Lily Allen’s heyday. Wicked Town brings the soulful tones of Norah Jones into the fray, while I Want You recalls the Badly Drawn Boy of his About A Boy soundtracking pomp. Elsewhere there is the chart-threatening, heart-rending Shame – which has hints of Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven – and the Eagles-leaning California.
Alongside this superb songwriting, one of Harmon’s real strengths is her simple yet evocative approach to storytelling, which allows the listener to worm into the narrative and feel a real association with the tales found on the album.
Cariad Harmon is a thoughtful and well composed album of folk songwriting, which draws in the affectionate ambience of 70s soft rock. It would be no surprise to see this make its way into the charts, which would give much merited acclaim to its talented composer.
Verdict: Finely crafted folk of refreshing warmth