Woman’s Hour – ‘Conversations’

Fans of dreamy, soulful indie-pop should tune in to the Cumbrians' captivatingly delicate debut

According to Hype Machine, Woman’s Hour were 2013’s sixth most blogged band. And there’s a reason that the London-via-Kendall four-piece, centred around siblings Fiona and Will Burgess, have been attracting such attention. In fact, there are 11 of them on this debut full-length. Much of it’s down to Fiona Burgess’ sad yet sultry vocals and the way they stretch across these dreamy, largely synth-based songs. Whether the soft yearning of ‘Two Sides Of You’ – her voice as delicate as the minimal instrumentation that underpins it – the smooth soul of ‘Our Love Has No Rhythm’ or the hints of ’80s pop that sporadically surface (most brazenly on the title track and ‘In Stillness We Remain’), the strikingly handsome singer’s hushed delivery is quite breathtaking. There are times – ‘Her Ghost’ or ‘Devotion’, for example – when the record threatens to stray into the MOR territory of, say, Dido, but when the songs are this honest and heartfelt, it’s a forgivable transgression.

Mischa Pearlman