Love, Love me do coo Ash and Eric.
Ash & Eric L’Esperance shared a common dream of music when they met in 2010 and formed the band The Promise is Hope, going on to put out two albums under that name. ‘Sure‘ see’s them realign as themselves, reflecting the personal nature of their song making. Of course there is a tale of love in there, but there’s also been some heartaches and a pinch of disputation along the way – the ups and downs of a married life that’s also a professional life as touring musicians where not getting along also means breaking up the band. And there’s maybe a nod towards this on ‘Never Walking Out‘ which paints a portrait of a young couple who marry to the prediction of it lasting “six months when she claimed our young love was doomed“, and are still together sixty years later through all the hardships as the pair’s duetting explains “It ain’t always been easy it ain’t always been a dream come true / I almost drove right off the ledge just to keep me from murdering you.” There’s a similar tale of love on the soft and gentle duet ‘Sure‘ which focuses on an ever stronger bond of love forged through passion.
Not that the pair are completely wrapped up in their joint story – Ash leads on the slow ballad ‘Until My Heart Goes Quiet‘ which compares her journey of aging through life to a physical journey along the snaking river that runs from her place of birth to her place of adult living. To shaker percussion and handclaps Eric calls up youthful memories of small town living where the only thing that saved the misfit kids was the skate park and the supportive community that formed at “The Church of the Concrete Wave.”
Ash & Eric’s folk style has a certain retro feel to it – a sound that taps into the classic folk revival of the 1960s. Which is not to say that it is backward looking or in some way a pastiche or old fashioned, this is a genuine style of folk deeply imbued with a “pop” sensibility that found inspiration in tradition but said “we want to talk about now and the things around us” – and that’s exactly what Ash & Eric are doing on ‘Sure‘. There’s a taste of the inspirations on which the duo draw on ‘Simon, Taylor, Denver, Cash‘ where Ash takes the lead vocal describing how some nights are great, some nights are less great and some nights are just for the money “Simon, Taylor, Denver, Cash these songs can make me cry / but no-ones really listening in a dive at ten at night / But it pays ok and it’s hard to say “no” to a little dough / But I’m driving home and I never felt so low.”
Across the nine songs that make up this short album the one thing that comes across is that Ash & Eric L’Esperance want to connect with the listener, sharing tales, adding glimpses of intimacy and baring their souls for their inspirations and the harder times in their lives. It rings true, and that’s something.