English folk music duo from Yorkshire, O’Hooley and Tidow have released their latest album Shadows.
By Jane Howkins.
Yorkshire duo O’Hooley & Tidow (first names Belinda and Heidi) have been rather busy as of late, having released a remarkable number of albums under their names over the last few years. Shadows is their latest effort, and it’s rather impressive, especially considering how many songs the duo have written and released in recent years.
The music they make is a simplistic type of folk, with an old-timey Irish feel to it. Whilst she was born in Leeds, O’Hooley actually has quite an extensive family background in the Irish folk movement, coming from a long line of County Sligo musicians. This influence is rather predominant on Shadows, and adds some realism to some of their more Irish songs. However, whilst this is obviously a big influence on the music O’Hooley & Tidow make, northern England also seems to play quite a big part, with one example being the first track Colne Valley Hearts. It’s one of the best songs on the album, with O’Hooley & Tidow singing a love story to the Colne Valley area around Huddersfield where they are currently based.
Shadows certainly has that gritty, northern feel to it, which ties in nicely with the Irish influence. Those who are already fans of the duo will know that they also seem to have an interest in Victorian themes, with Gentleman Jack from 2012 album The Fragile being a particularly famous example of this. This is something that seems to mingle well with O’Hooley & Tidow’s other influences, and there are times when you can almost imagine yourself running across the moors in some 1800s Victorian novel. Second track Made In England also has what seems like slight baroque influence to it, which is another nice musical addition. There’s some powerful imagery here, and the intimacy between the duo (who were recently married) only adds to it.
Our only gripe is that the better songs seem to have been placed in the first half of the album, with the second half being a little dull in comparison. They’re still good songs and Shadows is a great listen, but it might have been a good idea to have changed the track listing up a little. We wonder when O’Hooley & Tidow will release their next album, and considering their musical output over the last few years, that could hopefully be very soon!