Initially released quietly on vinyl only in a blank sleeve to hide the fact that Hannah Cohen is actually a model and photographer, with label Bella Union simply wanting the music to do the talking, ‘Child Bride‘ has ended up one of the better kept secrets of 2012. In fact, when I submitted my list for the magazine’s end of year chart, my reviews editor replied with ‘who the fuck is Hannah Cohen?’. Perhaps, sometimes, it is possible to market something too softly. By this point in life, I will listen keenly to anything on that particular label and so am one of the initiated. A quick listen to ‘California‘ and ‘Don’t Say‘ and you’ll be joining me in this enlightened land.
Sitting somewhere between Joni and Norah in terms of textures and delivery and having grown out of a personal interest in songs and songwriting which simply formed yet another artistic outlet for the multi-talented Cohen, this is an album which can feel a little slight at first. In the same way that the first listen to ‘Come Away With Me‘ was like walking through freshly fallen snow while someone threw rose petals at you and gave you a head massage, the opening moments of this album are luscious in the extreme. The slightly unsettling ache in ‘Shadows‘ offers a little shade to the more frequent light, with the production having an echo of Godrich’s indie ways of old.
The slightly jazzy feel to ‘Boy‘ which opens the second side offers further evidence that this record has rather more to it than might initially seem obvious. Indeed, the sonic landscape that has seen this dismissed as gentle folk by various reviewers not paying much attention, is actually subtly intricate and a good pair of headphones will see you right. Under such circumstances, you might even find ‘The Crying Game’ a little too much to take. When you’re thumbing the racks looking for alleged sale items next week, leave the predictable piles of £3 shite and take a punt on this little beauty instead.