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KATY LIED Winter Lightning KLCD008 (2011)
Release date 30.05.11

Katy Lied

There's an old adage, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. And thankfully, despite a third line up change in three albums, Katy Lied continue to go from strength to strength.

Formed back in 2006 after a chance meeting of founder members guitarist/songwriter Duncan Hamilton and vocalist Dan Britton, the band's debut album Late Arrival (2008) was an excellent folk based West Coast soft rock throwback (to better days) featuring drummer Paul Burgess (10cc, Icicle Works, Joan Armatrading) and Ian Thomson (Lindisfarne) on bass, with Nigel Stonier producing and co-writing.

While the loss of a lead vocalist might have been a death knell for many bands, the recruitment of Katie Harnett following the departure of Britton was an inspired move. Her vocals provided a whole new dimension to the band's sound on their follow up - Echo Games (2009) - another set packed with top notch crossover pop/rock numbers.

Once again, Winter Lightning sees a personnel change, this time with Ian Thomson's departure and Jo Wadeson (ex Waterboys/Beth Orton) stepping in to take on bass duties. Elsewhere, though, it's 'as you were', although the set has altogether more cohesive feel.

And while yet again the Hamilton/Stonier soft rock song writing remains of the highest calibre, the crowning glory is the maturing vocals of Katie Harnett. With a delivery not far removed from that of Siobhan Maher (of the too short lived River City People), but with just a hint of Sharleen Spiteri, a smidgeon of Chrissie Hynde and a soupçon of Thea Gilmore, her voice is a gorgeous instrument full of purity, but at the same full of breathy sensuality.

It's hard to conceive that 2011 will throw up a better example of the genre, and in truth, Katy Lied deserve a much wider audience. It would be interesting to see what a top notch American West Coast producer could bring to the party (as Don Gehman did in shaping the River City People sound) because, with Fleetwood Mac all but 'out for the count', the soft rock / pop crossover crown is very much up for grabs.

And on the evidence of Winter Lightning, Katy Lied have all the necessary credentials to take it to the next level. Marvellous stuff.


Review by Pete Whalley

Related>>Late Arrival (2008)

Related>>Echo Games (2009)


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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