STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 155638-22908 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Gloucestershire-based husband and wife duo Out Of The Ashes have tackled that difficult second album syndrome head on with a followup to their well-received 2012 debut 'The Garden'. Consisting of Penny Lyon on vocals and husband Kevin Washburn on guitars, the couple present 12 self-penned songs that refreshingly don't follow the default sound of many of today's Christian music releases but reference God via catchy songs and quirky lyrics. Eclecticism is the name of the game here and, thanks to in-demand producer Andy Baker's use of a talented set of musicians, the couple are able to straddle the genres with the likes of the Latin-infused "Two Step" sitting comfortably next the cod blues of "Love Your Neighbour" whilst the MOR rock 'n' roll of "Pick Yourself Up" typifies the generally unwavering positivity of this release not to mention the versatility of Washburn and Lyon as songwriters and the latter as a vocalist. Occasionally, proceedings fall into the trap of being a bit cheesy with the likes of "What Love Can Do" and "Ain't Done Yet" sounding a bit like a pastiche of gospel blues songs in a lyrical and performance sense - albeit unintentionally. On the whole, more considered songs such as the candid "Rebel", "Let Me Breathe On You" and the poignant end track "Closer To You" sound more natural and, as a result, are much more enjoyable.
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Eclectic, enthusiastic and unabashedly old-school, Love Can Be A Bumpy Road sees Out of the Ashes distilling their gospel roots into a sound that is truly theirs.
From the smooth soul of Snake Bite, to the raucous 12-bar of the title track and Love Your Neighbour, to the gentle and deeply personal Closer to You, the album showcases just how much the duo have matured musically. It’s packed with big arrangements, polished vocal harmonies and powerful leads from frontwoman Penny Lyon.
By turns personal and biblical, the songs are not afraid to address the trials of life. Prominent throughout is the message that in spite of these challenges, everyone can be used by God - in particular, no-one is too old, and “if you’s alive, you ‘aint done yet!”