The Horse's Ha: Of the Cathmawr Yards (Hiden Agenda) 

Janet Beveridge Bean found her own voice in her 2003 Dragging Wonder Lake after more than a decade of drumming for indie power-pop band Eleventh Dream Day, and harmonizing as half of the proto-alt-country duo Freakwater. Fans who were startled and captivated by the spare, twilight aesthetic of her songs, and the nuanced, atmospheric character of her solo vocals, have eagerly awaited a follow-up—and Cathmawr Yards almost counts.

True, Bean's again half of a duo, and her partner, James Elkington (The Zincs), wrote most of the songs. But the pair share a taste for risk, and they're simpatico in their darker leanings: The name "The Horse's Ha" comes from a Dylan Thomas short story about zombies, set in a graveyard called Cathmawr Yards. Fred Lonberg-Holm, the go-to cellist in Chicago's thriving avant-jazz scene, has followed Bean into this new venture from her previous ones, and Elkington knows how to write songs that could be Bean's own.

After the opening track, "Plumb," establishes how much Elkington's Nick Cave-like voice and phrasing can diverge from Bean's lilt, Cathmawr Yards settles into a comfortable compatibility. Elkington's arrangements build on Dragging's experimental folk ambiance with denser instrumentation and occasionally lounge-y subversion, as in the bossa nova beat of "Left Hand." The instrumental "Liberation" is a lovely, sprawling, experimental orchestral jam; an extended interlude on "Map of Stars" suggests music from every culture under the firmament; and "Rising Moon" takes "spookiest love song" honors.

More by Linda Ray


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

Song of the Day: 'Cosmic Love Song No. 23' by Louise Le Hir

The Lantern Fest: Get Your Shine On

Fill Up On Beer, Bands and Brats at 4thtober Fest

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Noise Annoys

    Mute Swan and the Curse of Local Hype
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Honky Tonk Girl

    How this Tucson 19-year-old might trip the country electric
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation