Husband and wife team Mark and Sharon Cohen-Rolfe have taken time to hit their stride. ‘Heart Of Wire’ is their fourth album of indie folk/slowcore and their first since 2008’s ‘Writing Down Things To Say’. In the past, their music, though uniformly good, has suffered a touch for being a little too shy and sensitive but their latest release could well be the one to establish them, especially given the belated popularity of the not entirely dissimilar-sounding Low.
After three albums of rather sedate fare it’s to be expected that Lorna should tread quietly and after the first listen to ‘Heart Of Wire’ , it’s hard to remember what you’ve actually heard. Yet after a few listens, gradually the skill of the arrangement proves itself to be as clever as the reliably tuneful songwriting. ‘Sounds We Hear’ opts for close to the mic intimacy with both Sharon and Mark harmonising sweetly, as they always do. ‘As She Goes By’ adds some rhythmic muscle but the two songwriters provide the gentle caress to counter it, whereas ‘Whatever Happened To Andie Walsh’ is built on a languid sun-kissed arrangement which would fit perfectly on a record by The Sea And Cake.
There is always an intimacy about Lorna which makes them so endearing. ‘November Kicks Again’ is warm, comforting and instantly familiar and the perfect antidote to fears of cold weather whereas the string arrangements for ‘Whose Idea’ and the Elgar-referencing ‘Mini And Marco’ provide the perfect accompaniment to a couple of already lovely songs. Mark takes the lead for yet another album highlight, ‘What Took You So Long?’, where the group employ more hard-hitting percussion but it’s the languid insistent melody that stands out as much as the lyric of “This is the sound of something happening underground”; a line which carries extra resonance given the subtle magic of Lorna’s music.
No matter that it’s taken five years since their last record, this one has been well worth waiting for. The gentle charms may take a while to sink in but ‘Heart Of Wire’ is the highpoint of Lorna’s career to date.
The Field Mice, Coastal, Low