Ward Thomas at The Islington
Double act Ward Thomas are a bit of an oddity in the country music scene, not because they’re twins born just two minutes apart, but because they’re as English as tea and crumpets. They’re sound, however, is proper Americana all the way, and it’s clear their recent time writing songs in Nashville has worked wonders for the legitimacy of their music.
The Islington isn’t the biggest of venues but it’s appropriate for where the band are now. The small room quickly fills with fans, many of whom sing along with the catchy country music the band performs. Lizzy Ward Thomas, the younger and blonder of the two sisters takes on the higher pitch melodies while Catherine performs in a slightly deeper and slightly huskier register.
It’s clear the pair have strong voices that are particularly well suited to their genre of choice. Alternating between the two in the verses creates a nice contrast, but it’s during the tight harmonies that Ward Thomas are really at their best. Choruses are well arranged and when the two voices come together it’s clear that these girls are fully aware of the added resonance they gain when singing in harmony. It’s a strong element in all of Ward Thomas’s songs, and is sometimes a little overused, denying the band the light and shade necessary for to make truly amazing songs, but in general the harmonies add a layer of interest to every track.
Their band wasn’t too extensive, with only a guitarist and percussionist providing their backing. Occasionally the girls would pick up guitars themselves, but for the most part, the small band meant that tracks had a subtle stripped back feel to them. Ward Thomas still have a long way to go before they’ll reach their full potential, but for now they still seem to be looking for that one extra layer to differentiate themselves from every other country act. With a little more British subtlety and a little less Nashville tradition, the pair could find a really interesting mixture.
Joe Manners Lewis
For further information about Ward Thomas and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Push for the Stride here: