Long awaited fourth long-player from TM & HL takes an intelligent and compassionate look at the hard times of old/new England.
For their previous album, 2012's La Ferme De Fontenaille, husband and wife duo Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou spent ten days recording in a barn located in the Pay De La Loire, France, aided by little more than a pair of guitars and a 4-track cassette recorder. For their latest album they've enlisted the help of recording legend Ethan Johns whose label Three Crows Records is jointly releasing the record with Trevor and Hannah-Lou's own Anglophone Recording Company.
The pair have busied themselves between album with a series of tours, most notably opening for Tori Amos throughout Europe and North America. Fortunately for us listeners they've also found time to write. Matching Ethan John's heightened sonic focus on the new album is the song-writing which is as sharp and incisive as anything from their back catalogue. As hinted at by the album title's play on words, EXPATRIOT sees the duo explore a recurring theme in their writing, that of nationality, what it means to be British, or more specifically English. And also just how deep rooted are the systems that perpetuate our problems with ourselves and the rest of the world.
The opening title track sets the tone, a rallying wake-up call to a population whose “daydreaming days may be done”. 'Galley Hill' casts a compassionate eye at the refugee crisis over an early Beatles chord sequence while 'Up Mercatoria' paints everyday vignettes of working life in an area of the duo's hometown and subtly references the founding blocks of how we interact with the rest of the world. 'Babe To Cradle' is an album highlight, a genuinely sublime track with Dylan-ish use of alliteration, examining monarchy as well as warmongering and extremism. For all the serious topics the album ends on an optimistic note with 'A Better Day' complete with a sing-a-long chorus and kazoo solos.
As a nation we precariously balance hope and despair, pride and shame. The latter pairing none more so when it comes to how we view and treat the rest of the world. Our borders may be made by God, but our frustrating insularity is wholly our own. It's a sensitive area and one that a lot of musicians shy away from. Not Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou. If only more musicians were prepared to examine these issues in such an intelligent and compassionate way. Especially now we need them to more than ever.
Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou will be supporting Ron Sexsmith on tour this October as well as opening for Jools Holland later this autumn -
Jools Holland dates
Thursday 29th October – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
Friday 30th October – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
Thursday 12th November – Colosseum, Watford
Saturday 14th November – Barbican, York