Ward Thomas – Invitation
The new release from Ward Thomas, the first UK country act to reach number one in the album charts, is an invitation into a Hampshire country cottage which serves not only as an impromptu recording studio and music video set but also a home for the twins and their six chickens. The pair’s fourth compilation is a true feat of lockdown productivity.
The journey of the collection feels like the phases of a relationship. We start out with tentative romance in lead single Sweet Time, as two people agree that they “don’t need to rush, don’t need to define”. By the time we get to Someday, there is disagreement in lines like “Don’t say you love me yet” and “I’m not ready for a steady love, but I will be someday”. As part of the homemade setup, Invitation is written and recorded independently by the duo, who choose their own writers and collaborate on the songwriting.
My Favourite Poison follows the same romantic course, charting the turbulence of an on-and-off affair. Dripping with sensuality, the harmonies croon, “I’m making a habit of putting myself through the pain”. The relationship’s tragic ending comes out in Painted Legacy, a song about the death of the twins’ uncle: “You can’t go yet, there’s so much left unsaid I need to say”.
In between the romance and the heartbreak, numbers like the a capella wonder Dear Me, provide a beautiful freshness and time for reflection. In this way, the compilation stays light and sensitive, in line with the atmosphere of taking our Sweet Time. The sisters’ switch from Sony to East West records comes with an imminent house move, a global pandemic and a stripping back and paring down of their sound and their lyrics. In comparison with Ward Thomas’s previous collections, Invitation has a quieter, more intimate feel after the intensity of Restless Minds. It gives a nod to the easiness of Cartwheels, with a newfound calm which goes hand in hand with being in lockdown. It is lovely to hear the settled homeliness the pair seem to have found over the past six months.
The one caveat with this album is that some of the words come across a little generic in comparison with those of From Where We Stand, for example. But this is a very small point in what is otherwise a wonderful record from a very promising country duo.
Invitation is released on 9th October 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Ward Thomas’s website here.
Watch the video for Sweet Time here: