Hannah Rose Platt “Letters Under Floorboards” (Continental Records, 2019)

Hannah Rose Platt’s second album is 11 songs that range from the rock end of Americana all the way to the folkier side. It would be easy for an album of such varied styles to sound bitty and unfocused, so it’s a credit to her songwriting that it doesn’t. The album hits its stride with ‘Sculptor‘ the third song in, and one of several about relationships going or gone bad. Spread amongst these are some tales from history, including ‘Brooklyn New York’ – about Irish immigration – while ‘Josephine‘, which teaches us about singer Josephine Baker – is one of the highlights of the album.

‘I Will Tell You When‘, features Sid Griffin, and is the tale of a locust swarm. Easily the best song on the album, with an eerie Mellotron like sound to add to the sense of menace. The best of the relationship songs is ‘Black Smoke‘, which finds Platt gone full electric on a tale of a pushy guy turning nasty. The songwriting is high quality throughout and the playing lives up to the promise of the songs. Not quite album of the year material but not far off.

In her publicity material Sid Griffin says “Hannah Rose Platt is a young, north of England Emmylou Harris blossoming before our eyes and ears”. If there is a downside to the album it is that Platt’s voice can be a bit one dimensional at times to merit that accolade, but this is only album number two, so plenty of time for that to improve and it isn’t a serious defect. If she continues to improve as she has here, album number three will be a serious contender.

Story songs and relationship songs all strong, all worth repeat hearing
7/10

Author: Tim Martin

I spend some of my time in Clevedon (Somerset) and some in Crianlarich (Scotland), but most of it on the road in between listening to Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty and Over The Rhine, or anything else that makes the miles go by quicker.

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