Henrietta Game – Black Ship Review

Henrietta Game drop their debut album Black Ship this June. The 24th, in fact. An Irish band who’re mixing up the scene with their melodic, multi-instrumental, classical pop Henrietta Game formed in early 2009. They’re still relatively new but with this strong, confident record, it’s difficult to believe. I have to draw comparisons between them and Maud in Cahoots, another Irish act PCM has banged on about relentlessly for the past year.

Opening with the instrumental Intro, the track really sums up their sound, sans vocals – classical, alt-pop with some jazz and soul soundscapes. The album boasts layers of beautiful vocal work along with captivating instrumental work, particularly with strings and the glockenspiel. The album is earmarked by its exquisite counter melody work, both vocally and instrumentally.

The first track to be released from the album is the exciting Sleep Then. Opening with a repeated melody for the harmonium and violin which eventually builds to stunning vocal work backed by a simple guitar arrangement. There are points of absolute genius, such as the brief statement “who am I?” which carries some of the most stunning vocal arrangements I’ve ever heard. The song’s textures and lyricism lends extremely well to a first release from the album; equally quirky and beautiful.

Berlin showcases the band’s songwriting to its fullest. Both lyrically and melodically, the song is the strongest on the album. Every breath, rest and note is carefully crafted and executed with exquisite beauty. I’d be here all day if I were to pinpoint each and every simple, elegant moment that really captured my attention and made me sit back and think “wow, this band really know how to arrange a frakking tune.” I Paint Things of Beauty is not dissimilar to the classical Rondo form. It builds from a delicate vocal and glock piece into a fully established, interesting and captivating piece of music making before returning once again to its opener to finish – one of the many highlights. The album’s softest moment comes in the form of Running Out of Time. A simple, genteel ditty shining through some gorgeous vocal work.

Alt pop with some rocking glock solos, this album has the rare ability to really immerse its listener. Lyrically very strong, Henrietta Game’s Black Ship strikes a chord of confidence and embellishes that with beautiful and haunting melodies.

The album is released on June 24 and the band launch their single Sleep Then tomorrow May 25 in the Workman’s Club in Dublin. Doors are at 8 and admission is €10.

[xrr rating=4/5]

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