Gregory and the Hawk - Moenie and Kitchi

Ash Akhtar 10/10/2008

Rating: 5/5

Singer-songwriters are an indestructible breed; purely because with enough determination and an acoustic guitar - anyone can do it. Or so it seems. Thankfully James Blunt, the bloke that looks a bit like him and the other chap with the ginger dreadlocks seem to have temporarily sated the international demand for manly, piercing howling that often reverberates through unwilling speakers.

Typing in the name of Meredith Godreau's Gregory and the Hawk (GATH) into YouTube results in pages of videos of fans covering her songs. Without a major label plying her with cash, one suspects the luxurious arrival of Moenie and Kitchi's to be eagerly anticipated by her smitten fan-base.

Meredith's lovelorn acoustic foundations have been irrevocably built upon by producer and multi-instrumentalist, Adam Pierce (Mice Parade). If these songs were buildings, they would be castles made from broken, coloured glass with labyrinth interiors.

As though acknowledging a furtive, misogynistic belief that acoustic female singer-songwriters can be easily written off, the suspenseful Oats we sow begins this charming and compelling album. The erratic drums move the song along with pace, entwined with Meredith's whimsical vocal delivery. Quite what Pachebel's Canon is doing in there is anyone's guess.

The 33 or so minutes that make up the album are well coordinated: with songs like August Moon and Super Legend unashamedly baring Meredith's voice with a simple solo guitar arrangement that serves to punctuate like chapters in a book.

The unexpected arrangements, off-beat drums and reverb-drenched breakdowns that litter Moeni and Kitchi captivate interest in the album which, in turn, encourages repeat listening. The best example of this can be found on Stonewall, Stone Fence which comes on like a rapturous spell in a prison yard on a rainy day. Clever use of distortion and application of reverb and vocal doubling is Adam Pierce's strength. The ability to exploit space in a song so effectively whilst maintaining a consistent use of instrumentation is to be highly commended.

Overall, this salubrious album is the perfect remedy for a world saturated with, what is essentially, little more than corporate art. You will find no cleverer, no more beautiful album on shelves or in hard-drives this year. An absolute future classic.

Release date: 13/10/08