of Tykes News
reviews The Heart Gallery by Hen PartyIn 1995, Sarah Morgan, Alison Muir and Heather Bradford first combined voices at Bracknell Harmony Day. They have been singing together ever since. Wild Goose Records who are rapidly developing a reputation for discovering unrecorded talent show the fruits of those labours on this album.
If 16 tracks of totally unaccompanied three part harmony seems a little overfacing, read through the list of tracks. They cover an amazing range – comedy and tragedy, music Hall to contemporary songwriters, pop standards to securely trad.arr. For example, one hears a quite stunning version of William Taylor, which begins to foot-tapping mouth music and progress through the tale to a thrilling modulation at the narrative denouement: an exemplary folk arrangement. A couple of tracks later, they go all thirties to sing Ray Noble’s Love Is The Sweetest Thing (taken somewhat faster than normal); Al Bowley would be in heaven – speaking of which, the CD ends with a Richard Thompson song…a wistful and fragile version of Waltzing’s for Dreamers.
Like the rest of the album the closing track insinuates itself into your subconscious so that after a couple of plays (and with an album this enjoyable many more than a couple of plays are guaranteed), you will find yourself singing a long to Hen Party’s arrangement.