Ward Thomas - Cartwheels
First things first; we're no longer in country music territory. Cartwheels takes Lizzy and Catherine definitively into pop. After bursting onto the scene in 2014 with their debut, From Where I Stand, Ward Thomas have had a whirlwind couple of years. They've lived their Nashville dream, had plenty of Radio 2 airplay, and are now on their way with album two. So far so awesome for the twins. But... they seem to have picked up some of the bad habits of Nashville on their visits.
Over the process of growing and evolving the British duo have lost something; there was a froth, an unbridled innocence, about their self produced debut that felt fresh and interesting. They had stories to tell, and songs were fun ('Town Called Ugly'), poignant ('From Where I Stand'), or real ('Take That Train'). Sadly Cartwheels struggles to replicate any of those feelings, the first half especially is a test of stamina, with ballad followed by slow song, lyrics about boyfriends followed by lyrics about broken relationships. It's just not that enjoyable. There are some gems tucked away, single 'Guilty Flowers' is well written and punchy, 'Dirt and Gold' and 'When It's Not Me' both hark back to the clarity of lyric that they showed on their debut. Really though, this is a disappointment.