Ward Thomas - 'Cartwheels'


Released on September 2nd, Cartwheels is British country music duo Ward Thomas' sophomore album. Currently sitting at number one on the UK charts - and making history as the first album from a UK country act to do so! - Cartwheels holds fourteen tracks, each co-written by sisters Lizzy and Catherine.

One of the tracks that really drew me to the album - and a track that remains my favourite - was current single Guilty Flowers. Arguably the strongest song on the album as a whole, Guilty Flowers opens with a solid acoustic guitar hook that transitions smoothly into the heavier chorus instrumentalisation. Lizzy and Catherine's harmonies are very tight throughout a track that I'm sure will have a lot of listeners quickly singing along to the infectious melody. The changes in the production throughout feel natural and smooth and ultimately create a very listenable moment within the album. Definitely a strong choice as a single!

One thing I found whilst listening to Cartwheels is that the duo's voices seem to lend themselves more to the softer numbers where they can really explore their own vocals and the lyric meaning that for the majority of the time Ward Thomas are at their strongest in the more solidly country tracks in the selection here rather than those that edge more towards country-pop. The impressive Good On You, for instance, is a heartfelt emotive package that you can really feel yourself smoothly wrapped up in. The bittersweet lyrics provide listeners with a clear picture of a particular moment in time, delivered with a mix of strength and vulnerability from Lizzy and Catherine's vocals.

Where The Sky Is is another strong release, with a more stereotypical balladic instrumentalisation through the reoccurring piano hook. The chorus is definitely the strongest point in the relatively short track, proving Ward Thomas' impressive ability to deliver a tight harmony alongside an emotive sweeping vocal. The only odd thing you hear is the very short drum hook at the end which unfortunately sticks out in it's bizarreness but equally doesn't spoil the blanket enjoyment of it.

On the other hand the inclusion of tracks like Lose Me doesn't particularly do any favours for the duo. Whilst the mix of tempos and general feels behind the tracks on this album is strong, it struck me with Lose Me in particular that Lizzy and Catherine feel a little uncomfortable, particularly in the chorus. It seems as though the instrumentalisation in the chorus is overpowering the duo's vocal which leads to a strained overall feel which is a shame compared with other similar songs. The shortest track on the album, it feels as though Lose Me struggles to really add much to Cartwheels as a whole and ultimately becomes a little forgettable.

Track listing...
1) Carry You Home - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell, Jessica Sharman, Glen Scott
2) Almost Easy - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell, Jessica Sharman
3) Material - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Martin Terefe
4) Cartwheels - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell, Tonya Poe
5) Guilty Flowers - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Shelly Poole, Ben Adams
6) Lose Me - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell, Cheyenne Medders
7) Good On You - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell
8) When It's Not Me - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Jamie Kenney
9) Boomerang - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Helen Boulding, Shridhar Solanki
10) Dirt And Gold - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell, Tonya Poe
11) Where The Sky Is - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell, Jessica Sharman
12) Proof - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell, Jessica Sharman
13) Who I'm Not - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell, Jessica Sharman
14) Safe - Lizzy Ward Thomas, Catherine Ward Thomas, Rebekah Powell



There can be no doubt that Ward Thomas have delivered a very strong album here. In my mind my negative comments don't detract from the album in any considerable way and I am very impressed by what Lizzy and Catherine have brought together within Cartwheels. They are certainly a welcome addition to the roster of UK country artists and have matured as artists since their debut album was first released. A very strong duo with a very impressive album, definitely one I'd recommend listening to!

Comments

Popular Posts