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Own Label LAMA 004

It’s a medieval fiefdom, a novel by Sir Walter Scott or is it, perhaps a breed of cattle? Wrong on all counts, Landermason is a duo comprising Fiona Lander and Paul Mason and this is their third album comprising a largely self-written, soft focus and scintillating meld of jazzy, folk-tinged arrangements and breathy vocals. Based in north east England and lauded by the likes of Radio 2’s Bob Harris they’ve been writing and recording together now for some seven years and a well-honed musicianship shows through in the slinky shimmer of this rewarding release.

The highspots are many and varied. Profoundly romantic, shamelessly poetic, ‘The Reason’ expresses sentiments like love, heartbreak, optimism, pride, and regret in equal measure. “The time is right and what’s right can’t be wrong” is the thrust of ‘I Know There’s A Reason’ and whilst an ostensibly light and airy flavour informs the proceedings, these two visit the dark side of Planet Earth in ‘Somalia’ which says a lot about that country’s abject situation in just two verses.  There’s no full-on raw energy at work here and it’s a recording that’s notable for its absence of excess delivery but every track is rich in melody and affecting lyrical detail. Fiona’s whistle, clarinet and especially sax playing has real panache and seasoned by Paul’s glorious, so-right guitar this makes for an easy flowing effort that touches head and heart. Moving easily between the contemplative and the relatively upbeat, it succeeds in being cerebral and at the same time, somehow intuitive.

A sparky, supremely confident statement, this is one for the connoisseur.

Clive Pownceby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 75 of The Living Tradition magazine.