After their delightful debut album Beginnings, Hannah’s Yard are back with a beautiful follow-up in the shape of four-track EP Reflections. Comprising of three covers plus an acoustic version of one of their original songs, Reflections is the perfect showcase for lead singer Hannah Layton Turner’s angelic vocals. Having demonstrated her ability to write fantastic lyrics on Beginnings, Reflections proves that she also has the voice to match. You can certainly hear the maturity in her voice now compared to 18 months ago, when Beginnings was released. On Reflections, we find a much more assured, complete and confident vocal performance that is central to its success. Opening track Blackbird is the ideal example of this. Drawing on Paul McCartney’s 1968 original, the decision to replace the guitar with the piano is a stroke of genius as it compels us to focus more intently on Hannah’s voice. This combination beautifully evokes Ellie Goulding’s similar treatment of Elton John’s Your Song, a modern classic when it comes to successful covers, in my opinion. Certainly with Blackbird, this combination makes for a more emotionally raw song than the original version. It also causes the lyrics to come into sharper focus. This is definitely the case with the second track, Better Together. With the tempo slowed right down, in comparison to Jack Johnson’s original version, we pay much closer attention to the lyrics. It gives a new dimension to the song whilst remaining as a tune that can best be described as ‘relaxing’. But whilst Johnson takes you to the shady palm trees of a Californian summer, Hannah soaks you in a bath of luxurious bubbles at the end of the working week. It is hard not to get lost in her captivating voice. Indeed, I did just that during the third track, a cover of Randy Newman’s Feels Like Home. It is a brave and bold choice given its origins. Yet Hannah does an admirable job, even if the level of poignancy isn’t quite the same as the original (though this would be difficult for anyone to achieve). Final track Never Gonna Say I’m Sorry provides the ideal ending to this highly reflective EP. As an acoustic version of her original, it leaves you in a seriously contemplative mood. But it also leaves you in no doubt as to Hannah’s potential to write songs that stand up well alongside some very big hitters in music’s history. After the fabulous fireworks of Beginnings, Reflections is a sidestep into the slow lane. It is a captivating record built on the firm foundations of Hannah Layton Turner’s gorgeous vocals. It causes you to reflect and contemplate in a way that few other records do. So if you’re looking to wind down after a hard day of work, or seeking to escape the constant roll of news on your social media feed, I recommend that you press play on Reflections. It has the power to stop everything. For fifteen heavenly minutes at least.
Click here to sample Reflections on Spotify.
Click here to find out more about Hannah’s Yard.