PLUMHALL

PLUMHALL

 Bradford, England, GBR
DuoAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Guitar and harmony driven textures of folk, Americana and pop from this dynamic Yorkshire duo whose debut album THUNDERCLOUD has won them plaudits from R2 Magazine (4 stars), Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff), Steve Knightley (Show of Hands) and many more. Recent winners of the Yorkshire Gig Guide Outstanding Songwriters award 2014, PLUMHALL were joined on stage by Bob Dylan's legendary guitarist Larry Campbell for a performance of Senor (Tales of Yankee Power).

Band Press

Fatea Magazine – Joe Grint

Some things in life really are worth waiting for.

The patience of the many enthusiastic fans of West Yorkshire based duo Plumhall has finally been rewarded by the release of their début studio CD 'Thundercloud'. One play through of the eleven pristine tracks (all but one written by the Michelle Plum and Nick Hall) provides the explanation for that long gestation period - this tremendous disc is a veritable tribute to the love and commitment they, and their conspirators in sound, have for making music.

Longer, and indeed almost constant, acquaintance allows further analysis - there is an unmistakable darkness at the heart of the album - ghostly tales ('Uniondale', 'Let Me Sleep') , disconnected lives ('Thundercloud', 'The Space Between', 'Trophy', Boff Whalley's 'Learning How to Talk'), repeated mistakes and overcoming adversity ('10,000 Locks', No Fear), slavery (the hugely energetic 'Never Forget My Name') and the early death of a close friend ('Exit from The Light').

Despite the gravity of these themes, however, the overall impact is in no way depressing but, in fact, the diametrically opposite. The duo's songwriting skills and sincere, note perfect vocal delivery are such that empathy rather than sympathy is evoked on every occasion - the resultant effect is that the listener is compelled to inhabit each story and is positively transformed by the experience. A further attribute of the songs is that they have that rare quality, exhibited only by writers of such stature as Steve Knightley, Jez Lowe and John Tams, of making it impossible to imagine the lyrics being separated from the melodies.

For those like me who are familiar with Plumhall's live performance and think that the songs simply could not get any better the first thing that strikes one is just how the arrangements and production add to the overall impact. Just to choose one track as an example, '10,000 Locks', is given an augmented dimension of poignancy through the introduction of David Hartley's pedal steel, David Crickmore's questioning electric guitar and Gerry McNeice's and Chris Bunyan's well considered supporting bass and drums. Each of the other songs have similar quantities of fairy dust sprinkled over them giving the whole package an aura of consistent high quality and professionalism with which one has come to associate David Crickmore's productions.

I was at first unsure about the love song 'High Rising' being the last track due to its comparatively undramatic thematic material but now it seems so apposite - a final confirmation of the triumph of the heart over the ordeals of an often complex and difficult emotional world.

Surely this CD must now provide the duo with the mainstream recognition that they so undoubtedly deserve? In all of my many years of listening to music I have rarely, if ever, heard a better début and will be very surprised if I shall again.

Yorkshire Evening Post – Duncan Seaman

Michelle Plum and Nick B Hall cut to the chase with their debut album. “What the hell did I ever do to you?/You know I’ve got weighty things to do,” run the opening lines of the title track for this 11-song collection.

Plum, late of Chumbawamba, Waking The Witch, and her husband, a longtime member of The Hall Brothers band, are feisty songwriters and adept harmonisers with a fondness for folk and Americana. Immediate comparisons that spring to mind are Richard and Linda Thompson and the Lilac Time.

Beneath the melodic sweetness of songs such as 10,000 Locks and No Fear lurks a lyrical sharpness that makes the entire record a lasting treat.

R2 Magazine – Oz Hardwick

More delayed than an East Coast train in January, Plumhall’s debut album finally arrives in time for summer, chock-full of the rootsy melodic treats they’ve been peddling on the live circuit for the past few years. The studio sound is expanded with a full band, but the focus is still on Michelle and Nick’s arresting vocals and that distinctive big acoustic sound.

Proceedings kick off with the title track, a journey into the dark heart of both the individual and the country, which throbs and sways through a parched sonic landscape, all weed-strewn rail tracks and sidewinders. Although an album of many moods, this opener nonetheless sets a resonant keynote of articulate, penetrating lyrics with captivating melodies and irresistible choruses.

From the fanciful and supernatural to the sharply political, these songs – all self-penned except Boff Whalley’s shimmering “Learning How To Talk” – are worth listening to closely, letting them insinuate themselves into your memory. It’s an assimilation made easy due to assured arrangements and the playing of all involved, with David Crickmore’s expressive steel guitars particularly outstanding.

Running the gamut from the fragile “No Fear” to the anthemic “Never Forget My Name”, this is a debut of rare artistic maturity from a duo with a fine future ahead of them.