Album Review - Qristina & Quinn Bachand / Little Hinges

There is a depth of inventiveness on Little Hinges by Qristina and Quinn Bachard that will raise their profile far beyond their Canadian homeland. Traditional tunes and songs are layered with an array of technical embellishments to give them a modern and funky setting. Artistically it excels by taking base material that is simple, and creating something special from it.  They have been receiving rave reviews and awards for their earlier releases, Relative Minors (2008) and Family (2011).  This however is a major leap forward as they move from traditional material to creative pop/folk self-compositions. The early tracks are traditional in nature as they introduce the listener to some carefully crafted arrangements that hint at something special. This includes the beautifully lush and exquisitely delivered What You Do With What You've Got to the equally captivating Crooked Jack.  With two traditional sets to partner these songs the first half is a very solid affair.  

The subconscious dreamland of sounds that is the instrumental track Little Hinges acts as a bridge between the first and second parts of the album, and it’s here that the music takes a turn.  The experimental nature of Hang Me, a song from the singing of Dave Van Ronk shows how Qristina and Quinn are willing to take creative risks with their music and this is the story of the album. The second half drifts further from their traditional roots with studio techniques and percussive soundscapes further layering the tracks with atmospheric echoes and quirky harmonies. There are even pop traces reminiscent of Canada’s own Ron Sexsmith within some of the intros and breaks.  Jimmy’s Fiddle written by Daniel Jordan of Canadian folk trio Red Moon Road is a delight.  The hazy vocals and clawhammer banjo of Saint Nothing and the self-composition Listen are equally compelling. Little Hinges is an inspiring recording from two equally inspiring musicians who are compelled by self-belief and attitude to find a new voice. To quote the liner notes to the song Listen. “There will always be naysayers who try to cramp your style - how you choose to react is up to you.” Outstanding.

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