The debut album of alt-country duo Two Ways Home has been a long time coming. The anticipation building up to the release of Break the Silence has felt so great at times that the weight of expectation has become almost fragile. For such a lengthy build-up, the risk of disappointment becomes ever greater. No such concern here however. The record is every bit as good as was hoped, and more.
The opening track is enough to fizzle away any doubt that Lewis and Izzy would not deliver on the promise of their earlier sound. ‘Broken Hearts Club’ carries the same uplifting, rock-infused sound found on 2017’s Closest Stranger EP into this album with gusto. Whilst ‘Speed of Anything’ may bring the tempo down slightly, it maintains the anthem-like qualities found in much of Two Ways Home’s music. This includes a catchy bassline, a generic meld of country, rock and pop, and the strong vocal delivery of lyrics that are both memorable and meaningful. It is this last point that is particularly pressing as the album progresses.
Both Lewis and Izzy allow one another to venture into the spotlight, to showcase the warmth and slight wistfulness of their vocals. When the former takes the lead, as on the title track, it is a voice that is distinctly British but imbued with a Southern US twang. Meanwhile, the latter’s softly-tended notes strike an almost dream-like state if not for the hard-worn edge that creeps through, particularly at the start of ‘Nostalgia’. Here, Izzy bookends the song beautifully with a performance that matches the emotional depth of the lyrics. It is perhaps the reason why this song, more than any other on the album, draws you into its story so powerfully.
‘Standing Still’ comes a close second to the brilliance of ‘Nostalgia’ on a personal level. If the best music is that which speaks to us then, for me, it must. For, like the fatal hope found in The Wandering Hearts’ ‘Wish I Could’, the chorus of ‘Standing Still’ is one which aches with that prescient feeling of being caught between one’s present and future self: ‘are you lost in the crossfire of hope and broken dreams, between you and who you want to be’.
The album ends with a quietly defiant song called ‘The Ocean’. After the hard drumbeats and amplification of guitars on songs like ‘Tattoo’, ‘Prove Me Wrong’ and ‘Conquer the World’, the stripped back production here is surprising but welcome. Its folk-laden sound is a gorgeous way to finish off what is a thoroughly enjoyable record. The lightness of touch provided by Izzy’s vocals adds a striking final touch of sincerity that leaves you completely satisfied. Two Ways Home have delivered on their promise. Break the Silence was worth the wait.
Click here to listen to the album.
Featured Images (C) Two Ways Home