What does it sound like?:
Two Ways Home are billed as an Alt-Country duo, formed in 2015. Isabella Mariee is from Vienna and Lewis Fowler from the Cotswolds. They live in London.
As you can imagine, they bring a European Folk sensibility to their so-called Alt-Country. Isabella has a strong, clear voice, counterpointed and blended with Lewis’s dustier tone. They pay close attention to the harmonies, imaginatively mixing things up, sometimes together, other times apart. Both are impressively powerful, yet capable of sensitivity. This is their third four-track EP and has benefited from a visit to Nashville where they got some help with their songwriting and buffed up their production.
The opening track, Best Part Of Me, is buoyant and quite the toe-tapper, the pair exchanging lines at the beginning, then driven together by a spritely guitar for the singalong chorus. It is commercial enough to attract radio plays. Push And Pull is more restrained and Folky with a melancholy lyric juxtaposed by a bright irregular rhythm. Don’t Give Up On Me Tonight is a beautifully fragile ballad, co-written with Logan Brill. There are some heart-tugging rising chords here and a very satisfying chorus. It has all the hall-marks of a Country standard. Finally, there is the title track, written with Demi Marriner, a song about deception containing a neat musical twist in the middle.
For Closest Stranger, Two Ways Home have refined their songwriting and polished their playing, delivering a very professional EP. One feels that this is just the beginning of a long career.
What does it all *mean*?
Nashville tends to add a sanitising gloss to whatever Alt-Country is. Impressive though that is, I prefer something a bit more raw.
Goes well with…
Fine leather belts and an expensive Stetson.
Might suit people who like…
Other British duos, such as The Shires and Ward Thomas, about as far from straw and manure that Country can get.