Friday, August 23, 2019

Cherry Head, Cherry Heart, It's Complicated, 2019

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

On their 2017 album, Tarred & Feathered, Cherry Head, Cherry Heart won me over with their The Beautiful South-like sound and the vocal pairing of Naomi Lowe and Andy Johnson. It didn't hurt that they were former members of The Southmartins, a British Beautiful South tribute band, the name being a mash-up of Paul Heaton’s bands The Beautiful South and The Housemartins.

Their follow-up, It's Complicated, was also written and recorded by Johnson and Lowe and produced by Johnson. For the most part, Cherry Head, Cherry Heart's new album does away with The Beautiful South influences and concentrates on Lowe's voice and her wonderful ability to sing songs that draw from the popular music of the last 50 years. But the pop sound of Tarred & Featured is still in place.

It's Complicated starts off with "Asteroids," which has a space-age 80s electro-pop beat (Madonna meets Barbarella?). The lyrics compare the distance between two lovers, the things they put between themselves, and objects found in outer space: "Astronauts and dreamers cannot cross the space between us / Cannot reach across the void / So we fill the space with asteroids."

"Keep On Moving" is a Country & Western romp and the terrific honky-tonk piano is provided by Daniel McCormick.

The album’s title song has some treated vocals by Johnson, double-tracked vocals from Lowe, and a bit of a dance club vibe. "Home Sweet Home" has a catchy tune and, if written in the 60s, would have been a hit for Petula Clark. And "Sweetness" recalls girl groups from the 50s with its "Sha-la-la" backing vocals and pounding piano riffs. There's also an excellent John Lennon-style harmonica solo in the middle.

"Beware Young Lovers," the closing track, is a pop gem and one of my favorites on the album. The song has a catchy melody and another warm vocal from Lowe along with some fine keyboard and strings that add to the overall sound. "Beware young lovers / You never know what's in the other lover's mind," Lowe sings. “"t may say one thing but leave a hundred thoughts behind." 

It's Complicated is out now on the Cherry Head, Cherry Heart Bandcamp page.

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