Album Review: Henrietta Game - Black Ship [Fourforty4 Re-post]

Originally appeared on on May 26th

Peter and Elaine writer of sat down at their respective computers, where they simultaneously listened to the band's debut album and shared their thoughts.

 Elaine: Elaine Kirwan reporting for duty!

Peter: Haha good on ya!
I'm ready to hit play whenever you are

Elaine: Go!

Peter: Ok there's a little instrumental intro...

Elaine: I think the intro is great, really sets the tone for the record

Peter: Sets the mood for the album

Elaine: This is going to be one of those reviews...
It says a lot about the band’s style, a nice little sample of their alt-folk sound. I love it.

Peter: I'm really impressed that the album represents the band live .... there's no extra strings that wouldn't be there live
All four band members sing and harmonise throughout the album

Elaine: yeah,which is great. and the voices fuse really well.

Peter: The backing vocals on 'Black Ship' are wonderful

Elaine: Yeah I really like the male lead vocals here. His voice is really pure, really draws you in.

Peter: They all sing so well, I especially like Aongus's vocals
He is the cello player and his voice is deep

Elaine: Me too
I love how it builds here before the crescendo- instrumentally it’s flawless. It’s really stunning how it gradually grows.

Peter: Yeah. 'Black Ship' now leads onto the new single 'Sleep Then'

Elaine: The harmonium and violin are fantastic here at the start. I love how it gathers momentum coming out of the intro.

Peter: Judy & Aisling take over the vocals on this track

Elaine: This track actually has some of the best vocal arrangements on the album

Peter: I love the lyrics on this track but I was surprised it was picked as a single
And yeah I agree with the vocals

Elaine: Me too, I thought there were a couple of stronger tracks that could have been chosen as lead single
It’s really powerful in places, especially when the percussion comes in and runs with the glockenspiel

01 Sleep Then by HENRIETTA GAME by GoodSeedPR

In fact the strongest tracks are in the second half for me

Elaine: I would have to agree with you there.
I love the glockenspiel! It's so magical and lullaby-like...

Peter: Not that these earlier tracks aren't good .... how do you feel on the track lenghts on the album?
For me some of the tracks come and go so quickly

Elaine: Some of them are quite short and come to quite a sudden close
It's nice on some but not on others...I like it one one of the later softer tracks

Peter: Yeah and with the musicianship on offer some of the tracks could easily have been extended

Elaine: Exactly

Peter: I love the violin on '28 Hours'

Elaine: Gorgeous
And executed perfectly

Peter: Yeah and the lyrics here are wonderful ... "I rested my itching fingers between the bullet hole stains of your city" lyric is brilliant

Elaine: Yeah it's definitely one of the strongest tracks lyrically

Peter: this song in particular ends ebrupty

Elaine: Again I love the fusion of the male/female vocals
It does- this is definitely one that could have been extended

Peter: I've been lucky to see the band on close to a dozen occasions and to be fair the album does reflect what they sound like live

Elaine: Oh really? That's great to know.
I really like the female vocals on this track 'Rain-drenched Strings'. This girl has a stunning voice; it’s really gentle and pure.

Peter: All the vocals are strong and I like Judy's vocals on 'Rain-drenched Strings' but Aisling too has a superb voice

Elaine: Again, it draws you in and is haunting almost.

Peter: This song feels like an introduction to the tracks which really hit home for me

Elaine: I am so impressed with this album instrumentally, it’s stunning. The strings are so uplifting. It’s beautiful.

Peter: Yeah they do haunting well but with lots of charm too

Elaine: True.
I want a glockenspiel...

Peter: The cello at the beginning of 'Berlin' is amazing
Aisling sings this track

Elaine: It is gorgeous.
Like Track 2, this song is flawless instrumentally for me. Another highlight definitely.

Peter: I'm a bit disappointed that the catchy chorus is drowned out by the backing vocals
Mainly because it's a great lyric

Elaine: Really? I like it. Moments in this song are truly powerful I think, especially there when the instrumentation soars and is met with the vocals.

Peter: It kinda has a marching tone/feel to the track

Elaine: It does, a kind of unrelenting feel to the melody

Peter: The Henrietta Game Army...

Elaine: Haha!
The harmonies are gorgeous, especially when they are supported by the introduction of the stronger percussion.

Peter: My other half adores this track 'Running Out of Time'

Elaine: I do too!
But you know me- a sucker for a softer number!

Peter: It is their best track and could/should be a hit for the band

03 Running Out Of Time by HENRIETTA GAME by GoodSeedPR

Elaine: I thought this would make a fantastic single
It should be the next release I think

Peter: Imagine if someone like Ray D'Arcy began playing this?

Elaine: Ah...the power that is Ray D'Arcy!

Peter: And his housewife listeners?

Elaine: Haha!
The glockenspiel adds a lovely sentimental feel to the music on this album

Peter: I forgot to say what's good about the track .... i love how the two vocalists tell their story separately but together
It's enchanting

Elaine: Yeah, there's great interaction here. In short, it's just lovely
I like the sudden close in this one- I think it's really effective
Adds to the haunting feel.

Peter: The only song that was new to me is this next one, 'I Paint Things of Beauty' which I simply adore

Elaine: Yeah this is another great track. I love the simple, staccato-effect vocals as it opens and how it gradually builds through the song

Peter: It's like a Cathy Davey tune with superb vocals from Aisling

Elaine: She's got a great voice
It becomes more layered instrumentally as it goes on and again it’s executed brilliantly

Peter: There's another album I reviewed recently from the Elective Orchestra which is very similar to Henrietta Game I think
And on it were 6 instrumental pieces which gave the songs space to breath in between
But on black ship it's one great tune after another

Elaine: Oh right. I found it hard to draw comparisons to Henrietta Game
I think they're doing something really original here
I don't now of many bands on the scene who are similar

Peter: Oh yeah they certainly are original .... 'The Last Thing' that's coming on now is my favourite track
It always makes the hair on my neck stand

Elaine: I love it. The male vocals are a highlight here.
Who's that singing, Peter?

Peter: Aongas the cellooooo player

Elaine: Beautiful tone to his voice
Hushed, whispered vocal effect throughout again, like on 'Black Ship'
It's gorgeous

Peter: This is the only song he [Aongus] provides lead vocals for
Which is a shame

Elaine: Pity, he's incredible
He could silence crowds with that voice
He's that good

Peter: Agreed

Elaine: I really like 'Prague' as well

Peter: Yeah, after such a short time we are at the last track

Elaine: Another lovely soft number

Peter: I saw the band play 2 years ago and the 3 songs which stood out were 'Berlin', 'Running Out of Time' and 'Prague'

Elaine: I love the gently plucked strings in the first verse

Peter: Maybe because the songs are 'old' to the band they don't get how good they are

Elaine: That can happen with bands when songs are with them so long and there's delays with debuts
The great thing about this album is that it has a fantastic blend of different moods and sounds
The balance of uplifting, soaring moments and the more tender and gentle songs, like this one, is perfect I think

Peter: Yeah but it all happens within the haunting charming sound that is uniquely them

Elaine: That's a great sum up
Lyrically this is great. The songwriting on this album is really notable for a debut
I think it’s a fantastic first offering. A very talented group- I am impressed!

Peter: You will have to get to see them live soon

Elaine: Definitely

Peter: At Vantastival I placed my twin boys on the grass just in front of the band and they loved it

Elaine: Really? Ah that's so cute!
These guys are so original and engaging- I would definitely recommend giving this album a spin. Vast majority of tracks are stunning.

Peter: Have you seen a video clip of the band doing Lady Gaga's 'Just Dance' acapella?

Elaine: No...

Peter: It's very good

Elaine: I'll check that out

Peter: Think there's a version of it online

Elaine: The only negetive thing I can say about this album is that it's too short

Peter: Far too short

Elaine: Some of the songs finish too abruptly, like you said
And 'Sleep Then' wouldn't be my choice of a lead singe

Peter: I know the pressure of radio plays maybe has an effect on bands and song length

Elaine: Yeah that's true
I'm sure they'll have a great launch tonight
Get a good reception

Peter: I would have loved to hear some extra instrumental moments to allow songs like 'Berlin' and 'The Last Thing' space to be appreciated more

Elaine: Yeah, to breathe a bit, like you said
I loved the intro- more of that would have been lovely

Peter: The band have a good following at the moment and it will improve over time

Elaine: They deserve it
I'm off to buy a glockenspiel...

Henrietta Game's new single, 'Sleep Then' will be the first single from the band's forthcoming album and will be available to download from iTunes from Friday. The debut album, Black Ship, drops 24th June. To find out more about Henrietta Game, pay a visit to their official website here.