Hannah Curwood: Sky Above, Horse Below
By Amanda Mills
Hannah Curwood's debut album shows the Wanaka-bred singer/songwriter honing her talents onto disc. Produced by Curwood with help from Graeme Downes (Verlaines), and mixed by Dale Cotton (HDU, Dimmer), the album showcases her abilities not only as a singer and songsmith, but also as a multi-instrumentalist. The strong production and playing sometimes overwhelm Curwood's (at times) fragile vocals, but she shines when it's just her voice with a subtle accompaniment - final track It's Been Snowing all Winter is a standout with vocals and acoustic guitar. Mind you, the full-band opening track Neptune's Fork is seductively appealing too. The album explores a number of musical styles (indie rock, alt. country), and Curwood tackles them all admirably, but her voice does occasionally gets lost in the mix. Recorded at Albany Street Studios and Audioworkshop in Dunedin, Curwood's backing musicians are all local talent, and include Alan Starrett of Mink on piano accordion. 'Sky Above, Horse Below' is an album that definitely grows on you, and as a debut is remarkably assured. Hannah Curwood will only get stronger from here.