The return of Kat Gilmore and Jamie Roberts – confirmation of their standing.
Release Date: 29th September 2023
Label: GR! Records
Format: digital / CD
It seems an age since Jamie and Kat received their BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Duo’ nominations. It also seems an age since their last album, the pre-pandemic A Problem Of Our Kind, which leads to the present day and an almost ‘alien visiting our world’ scenario where we’re challenged to explain our current existence. So much has changed that we can justifiably ask, is there ever a more appropriate title for an album than Documenting Snapshots?
An album that fits around family life, one factor which has resulted in major domestic change to the duo, the balance brought back to life and family first, music and songs filling the available space. It’s no surprise that the songs are shaped with parenthood and family as significant themes, intertwined with unusual and enlightening inspirations.
There’s a slow build towards the strident confidence that emerges in I, Burnum Burnum. “I’m here to claim this country as our own,” is the battle cry that becomes increasingly passionate, not dissimilar to the rebellious sentiment that’s the calling card of Merry Hell. An album that straddles the divide between the rousing and the sentimental, I’ll Take What I Can Get offers the first taste of the latter before what feels like a series of false starts to Blackwater Falls, where the challenge of the stuttering tempos and delivery is carried by a sprightly arrangement.
The opening flurry that sets the tone, as Kat sings of wearing the same dress to a wedding and a funeral, the Hugh Grant film scenario briefly hoves into view as the delicate accompaniment again gives way as the doors are thrown open to the strength of a ringing acoustic guitar and the assurance that any parent should offer their child that “I am your home.“
Working mothers and industry receive contrasting arrangements, the latter cloaked in a sensitive ambience before the Harriett’s One tune flows serenely, showcasing the duo’s sensitivity to creating a calming quality about their tunes. That’s again in stark contrast to the lively Change Your Tune that you can imagine the likes of Imar or Talisk getting their teeth into and sending into the stratosphere.
There’s a fascinating story behind L’Inconnue De La Seine that we recommend dipping into and as the variety swings one way and the other, the simple two voices that bring closure on A Little Bit Of Everything act as a reminder that Gilmore & Roberts remain a duo who still have a significant part to play in the genre. Documenting Snapshots is confirmation of their place as mainstays in the folk field.
Here’s I, Burnum Burnum from the album: