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Battle and Victory

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Album Review

After releasing a few singles under her somewhat non-euphonious full name of Nancy Elizabeth Cunliffe, this young singer/songwriter from the village of Wigan in the north of England makes her full-length debut under her Christian name only. Nancy Elizabeth will gain immediate and widespread comparison to Joanna Newsom, because alongside her many other instruments (acoustic guitar, harmonium, dulcimer, etc.), she plays a small Celtic harp on much of Battle and Victory. However, Cunliffe is a much less affected vocalist and far more down to earth in terms of her music and lyrics. A more appropriate comparison among her contemporaries would be Sharron Kraus, but at heart, Cunliffe belongs alongside the likes of Vashti Bunyan and Sandy Denny: traditional British folk music is at the heart of these songs, but she's never hidebound by tradition. "Coriander" features the Balkan-inspired avant-rock of her labelmates A Hawk and a Hacksaw percolating behind her lovely vocal, with accordion and horns powering the whole. Elsewhere, "Hey Son" features a piercing, Joni Mitchell-like lead vocal, and dreamy overdubbed harmonies over an oddly tuned, hypnotic acoustic guitar riff that explodes into dramatic Fairport Convention-style full band folk-rock. Endlessly inventive but based on a solid melodic and lyrical core, these songs are almost too rich to absorb in a single sitting. Battle and Victory is a deeply satisfying debut that vaults over the currently hip "weird folk" scene into something more lasting.

Customer Reviews

Love the album

Really great debut album. Loved it

Pretty good for a Wiganer ;)

Good album and definately one I can't ignore. With the right coverage Nancy should get into the spotlight. This album is great and will definately be my soundtrack for the summer. BTW. iTunes, Wigan is more of a town than a village.

I come back to this album all the time

Nancy's voice has a similar plaintive tone to that of Shirley Collins. She really should be far better known in the UK as one of our best singer-songwriters. There's a spirituality to this music that transcends everyday life. And this was just the first album. They are all beautiful albums that reward you time and again. She's in my top 10 artists of all time.

Battle and Victory, Nancy Elizabeth
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Customer Ratings

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