[Album Review] ‘A Better Way To Do Things’ by Tin Star

Release Date: 15th February 2019

Genre: Folk

Brisbane trio Tin Star have this year released their debut folk extravaganza “A Better Way To Do Things”. If you enjoy the sounds of folk vocals and colourful musical accompaniment then this is the album for your collection.

Tin Star are Penny Boys, Cathy Bell and Dan Grant whose musical influences are as diverse as Traditional Folk to American Rock with a side serving of Eighties Pop!

On this album we see all three artists share the lead singing role on differing tracks whilst the remaining two thirds provide harmonies that intertwine and move around the lead. There is also an abundance of instrumental mastery bringing a full and complete sound to the listeners ears.

I wasn’t sure at first about giving my views on this album as Folk is not really my genre of choice but there’s always a time to learn and grow and step out of your comfort zone and this was a really easy album to assist me with that.

My favourite track on the album is “Best You Can” (4/13) …in part because I find myself drawn to shared male/female vocals and the textural elements of the harmonies provided and the amazing blend of musicality instrumentally. I believe that Dan taught himself the Banjo from scratch just to add an extra twang to the track. It worked!! This track is a standout and I couldn’t help but visualise a warm English Inn full of village folk drinking ale.

Closely following this is “Flowers On The Table” (6/13). Here I am transported into a folk styling with a pop influence. An up-tempo plethora of string elements with both the guitar and fiddle come to the fore.

I loved “The Dead Tree” (8/13). A haunting musical intro drew me into this track and continued to haze the background as I listened. The message within the lyrics of this song deep and meaningful.

There are three tracks on this album that deserve to be represented together – that of “Nothing Else I Can Do” (11/13), “Heart Like A Wheel” (12/13) and “Turn Your Attention To Me” (13/13). This little collective is a good set for those who are searching their heart for recovery after a relationship breakdown. If you are in the right mindset these will be the ones to pull at your heartstrings and bring on the tears. The lyrics poignant and moving and the instrumentals stripped back keeping everything simple and emotive.

I’ve purposely left out mentioning the lyrical context of the songs on this album as I feel that they stand strong in their own right and should be experienced by you the listener with no influence from me. The messages are clear and bought about by song writing skills of a high standard. There’s a bit of gaiety and a bit of seriousness and a great balance between the two for all to enjoy.

Personally I find myself drawn to the songs in which Dan Grant takes on the role of lead vocal and prefer Penny and Cathy to add whimsical intertwining harmonies however nothing can be taken from any of the artists in terms of vocal ability…it’s there, well matured and beautifully executed.

There are 13 tracks on the album and I have listened to them all no less than 3 times each…some hit me in the spot and others less so which is no different to any other album you might listen too BUT this has been a great journey through a genre I am not all that familiar with! A journey I would not have endured had it not been for the ability of Tin Star to develop and employ creation and adaption processes within the album context to literally open my eyes and ears to what Folk music is and can be.

Purchase yourself a digital version of the album and enjoy:- “A Better Way To Do Things” – Tin Star

Tin Star 1 (300dpi)

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