Characterised by confident, unshowy harmonies and characterful arrangements, Lady Maisery’s debut album is a real gem.
The trio - Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans - complement each other well, which is particularly important for their ’diddles’, or sung tunes. The girls make the technique seem easy on some playful polkas and display a purity of voice on the excellent Har Du Sett, which segues into the jolly, more intricate Lads and Lasses.
Though primarily a vocal group, the band members are all more-than-capable musicians, and embellish the album with subtle, classy arrangements. Rheingans’ unusual BanSitar gives Nottamun Fair a sense of grandeur, James livens up the Bluebell Polka with some nifty clogging, while Askew’s concertina brings a sinister atmosphere to The Gardener. Plucked strings and harp shoot the album through with a sense of freshness, making for a dreamy version of The Colour of Amber and a sprightly opener in I Know my Love.
There’s still much to enjoy elsewhere: the charming music hall of Mary Ann, for example, and the urgent-sounding Willie’s Lady, before a funereal Sleep on Beloved rounds things off. Fresh, full of ideas and executed superbly, Weave & Spin is a great debut from three excellent collaborators.