Abi Wade - And Blood And Air EP
Abi Wade's debut EP And Blood And Air is both rather great and most unusual. Playing something akin to modern post-folk with a cello may not be completely unique - if you need evidence, check out pre-cursors like the equally excellent and very well established Martin and Kimberlee McCarrick. What is pretty singular though is Abi's playing style, strings more likely to be plucked than bowed. It's percussive too, the cello strings at times being played with a drummer's 'beater'. Done wrong it could all be a bit Spinal Tap; done right, as it is here, it's wonderfully touched by magic.
The songs are melodic, lilting and lovely. She's got a killer voice for good measure, think that sort of lazy slide that might have made you love Beth Orton. If Abi was instead a doyen of piano or jumbo acoustic, it would still be good, but possibly no more than that. Perhaps there is something in the fact that as a schoolgirl, Abi got to the cello by way of piano. It's the way that she makes the song structures stretch though, to accommodate the cello, that gives it all an excitement and an edge that might otherwise be missing. Wade's music was enough to inspire Esben & The Witch’s Daniel Copeman and Brighton promoter Andy Rossiter to specifically start a label - Love Thy Neighbour Records - so it's fitting that her first release is theirs too.