Gregory And The Hawk - Leche
Gregory And The Hawk is the recording guise of New York songstress Meredith Godreau and Leche is her second album on the One Little Indian / Fat Cat label. Each song is markedly different to the previous offering and, whilst some of the results leave you scratching your head, others have you swooning with their loveliness or regressing to childhood and wanting to bounce around without a care in the world.
‘For The Best’ opens up with picked acoustic guitars, mouth organ and Godreau’s sweet, gentle vocals. It’s as silky and joyous as a puppy on a sunny day with just a hint of tweeness that does permeate other tunes at times. ‘Olly Olly Oxen Free’ is poptastic with a drum machine and ukulele backing thrillingly simple guitar picking; sure to become a guilty pleasure of many a hardened cynic. There’s a distinct oriental sound to many other tracks: ‘Landscapes’ has a vague Bjorkishness and hints of Kate Bush from the Hounds of Love era, and ‘Hard To Define’ has slightly mistuned piano and guitars to keep you on edge and stop things becoming too mawkish but ‘Geysir Nationale’ and ‘Frebeight’ are bonkers and have you wondering if Meredith had been at the opium.
Fortunately the collection is revived by two recordings of genuine quality: ‘Puller Return’ has a bluesy feel based around a simple three-chord riff and incorporates lines from Cutting Crew’s ‘(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight’. Brilliantly bizarre whistling and chanting round it off nicely. King of the castle, however, is ‘A Century Is All We Need’; heart-rendingly beautiful with soulful electric guitar and bass, ambient hiss sounding like rain and Godreau’s voice at its gentle, melancholic best. You just want this one to carry on and on. “Give it like it’s meant to be / Little piece of ecstasy.” Indeed.
At times you can imagine yourself in Edwardian England, floating down a river with a bottle of Chablis, at others you could be standing in a Japanese town watching the Geishas cast coy smiles at you. There are two or three songs that just don’t work but there are also several that stand comparison with any spawned by the likes of Nick Drake or Robyn Hitchcock.