Snowpoet ‘Thought You Knew’ LP/CD (Edition) 5/5

“Thought you knew” is the second album from Snowpoet, the London based band led by the writing duo of Lauren Kinsella and Chris Hyson. For vocalist Kinsella, the new album follows two notable previous releases, the aforementioned 2016 eponymous Snowpoet debut, along with the highly imaginative 2014 “Under The Moon” from Blue Eyed Hawk. Multi-instrumentalist Hyson steps up the production levels on this latest release, skilfully bringing together Kinsella’s engaging and characterful vocal style with warm and beautifully crafted arrangements. The results are stunning and the compelling nature of the lyrics and music make for a mesmerising listen.

There is a deep and raw emotion prevalent throughout the lyrical writing style and vocal delivery of Kinsella, mirrored wonderfully by Hyson’s delicate and thoughtful arrangements. For this session, the duo are joined by Nicholas Costley-White on acoustic guitar, Matthew Robinson on piano, Dave Hamblett on drums, Josh Arceleo on saxophone, Alice Zawadski on violin, Francesca Ter-Berg on cello and Lloyd Haines on percussion. The musicians involved illuminate the gorgeously crafted songs with a tasteful and intelligent palette of colour that allows the originality of the compositions to shine through with a refreshing subtlety and beauty.

Ten tunes grace this exquisite album. The lyrics are reflective in a short story-telling kind of way, thought-provoking and intriguing. As tempting as it is to use words like introspective and melancholic, I would rather use words such as illuminating and conscious, portraying that rare quality of honesty that may begin with a very personal thought, but ends up speaking in a very human and universal way. Stand-out tracks include the mouth-watering opener “The Therapist”, a piece of music that surely has to be shortlisted as one of the compositions of the year, “It’s Already Better Than OK”, with its Bjork-like vocal delivery, the beautiful and moving “Snow”, and the heart-wrenchingly reflective music and arrangement of the folk-inflected “Two of Cups”.

To categorise Snowpoet is difficult – which to my mind is always a good thing. Sitting in the realm of a folk/jazz/ambient crossover would perhaps best describe this wonderful band, with an originality that is both reflective and innovative. “Thought you knew” is music to my ears. Edition Records continue to go from strength to strength as a label, and with recordings such as this, one can only simply say ‘thank you’ for giving the platform to acts such as Snowpoet to write, record and release such charismatic and original music.

Tour dates:
APRIL 19th Birmingham, UK – Hare and Hounds
APRIL 29th CCA, Scotland
MAY 3rd Bennigan’s Bar, Derry, UK
MAY 4th Derry, Northern Ireland – Derry Jazz Festival
MAY 5th The Model, Sligo, Ireland
MAY 6th Waterford, Ireland – Coastguard Cultural Centre
MAY 10th London, UK (Kings Place, Album Launch)
MAY 11th Southampton Turner Sims Double bill with Olivia Chaney
MAY 12th Cardiff, UK – Millennium Centre

Mike Gates