Some kiwis may know Hannah as Hannah Curwood, the Southland born, Otago University alumni under Graham Downes’ tutelage, who released Sky Above, Horse Below (2007) and The Blind Love EP (2009) – both receiving high praise.
Hannah In The Wars is her new incarnation and the result of 4 years toil after the end of a long-term relationship, a family crisis and a move to London – all worthy fodder for songwriting.
In London Hannah found a meeting of musical minds with a group of new players, in particular Roger O’Donnell of The Cure, who became executive producer of the album, his record label 99X/10 also releasing HITW digitally and in a beautiful vinyl edition.
Hannah’s use of dark lyrics, twisted imagery and ethereal melodies still remain in Hannah In The Wars, but this album strips back these well crafted songs to their bare bones for the most part, highlighting Curwood’s melodic and emotional vocal range as she takes us from a whisper to a howl. Her voice is delicately accompanied by layered harmonies, sparse piano and synth, delicate string arrangements and brooding percussion.
Highlights for me include the emotionally engaging ‘Infidel’, the depth and lushness of ‘The Hunter’ and the surprising closer on the album – ambient, ethereal pop-tune ‘Dark Summer Dawn’.
Hannah In The Wars requires several listens to take in the subtleties of the recording, but when it takes hold you won’t want to let go.
Check out Hannah In The Wars on-line