VICTORY ROAD: No Turning Back
By Amanda Mills
Victory Road is a collaboration between three guitar playing singer-songwriters - English-born Sarah Hannaford-Hill and Jo Williams plus local girl Merrilee De Simas - who have augmented their live line-up with drummer Mark Grimes (ex-Jester) and bassist Derek Kahi. This debut album showcases their talents, with songs ranging stylistically from pop to folk to country. The soulful, heartfelt vocals are assured, the three voices harmonising well despite being individual in timbre. Melodies are infectious and the rhythms tight: it's not difficult to find the influence of introspective singer/songwriters such as Bic Runga, Shona Laing and Neil Finn. The three have distinctive writing styles each producing interesting songs, but Williams stands out for me - especially with Miss You, which is beautifully melancholic, and Shine, which closes with an epic guitar solo. Recorded and produced at Grimes' Tenvor Productions in 2006 and mastered by Lucid 3's Derek Metivier, a number of others were involved in recording the album. Viola/violin player Greg McGarity adds authenticity to the folk sound on some tracks. A professional debut with talent abundant. Victory Road deserves more attention.