Shovels & Rope – Swimmin’ Time [album review]

by Woody on August 24, 2014


There are certain male/female duos where you feel that they were born to sing together. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole. The Everybodyfields is a great example of this. I like Jill Andrews & Sam Quinn’s solo stuff just fine but when they sang together, man that was just pure beauty and magic. Cary Ann Hearst & Michael Trent, the married duo of Shovels & Rope, have that magic.

Shwimmin’ Time is the 2nd LP under the Shovels & Rope moniker and 3rd together. And like O’ Be Joyful before it, Swimmin’ Time sees the duo take another leap forward. If there were any worries about a hangover after all the notoriety that O’ Be Joyful generated, that is erased immediately with the opening track, The Devil Is All Around, a mid-tempo ballad about shunning the negative influences in your life. Followed up by darker tracks such as The Bridge Is On Fire and Evil sets the tone for the rest of the album.

There are so many stand-out tracks that is tough to single them out. The doo-wop tune about fighting off drug use, Coping Mechanism, is tremendous. Mary Ann and One Eyed Dan cuts a snapshot of like in the South in the spirit of Kemba off the prior effort. If I was getting married, that would be my wedding tune. And Fish Assassin is an 83 second foot-stomping blast that is sure to be a crowd favorite.

If you hop on their website, you’ll see plenty of water-related photos. If it isn’t obvious from the title, Water is a central theme throughout. No song embodies that theme better than After The Storm. It is a slow-burning number that sees Hearst & Trent treat their vocal chords with no regard as they strain their voices in such beauty that its tough not to get all goose-bumpy.

This is an album by a duo that leaves nothing for chance on the stage. Their live show is out of this world. I can’t stress enough how much I love this album and that you should make every effort to go see them live on this tour.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Shovels & Rope are here

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

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