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Redlands Palomino Co - Take Me Home

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 27 / 1 / 2007

Redlands Palomino Co - Take Me Home
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD


Outstanding second album from much acclaimed London-based Americana / alt-country outfit Redlands Palomino Co, who are the only British act signed to the Australian label Laughing Outlaw

Expectations were high for this follow-up to 2004’s ‘By The Time You Here This…’ which proved that a British band can play Americana / alt-country better than many American bands. Thankfully the band has not made any great changes from the sound they produced on that debut. Basically it’s more of the same… but it’s not. There is more variety this time round, it’s not all country-rock; at times ‘Exile In Main Street’ Stones influences come through and even the Byrds come to mind at times. Maybe it’s the constant gigging over the last two years as the band sound more of a unit now; although readily showing their influences the band now never actually sound like their heroes; they sound like they have finally discovered their own sound. And what a beautiful sound it is. The vocals of Hannah Elton-Wall always get special mention in any review and deservedly so, Hannah could well be the best singer Britain has to offer just now. She really is that good. The opening song, ‘Wasted On You’, which was also written by Hannah shows that she is not only an exceptional vocalist; she is an accomplished songwriter too. The song can’t make its mind up if it wants to rock out (in spite of the melancholy lyrics) or be a ballad. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to dance, raise a fist in the air and cry all at the same time. Hannah’s husband Alex is another superb singer who takes the main opening lines in this song, the gruffness in his voice being the perfect foil for Hannah’s angelic harmonies. Then Hannah starts trading lines with Alex and you realise you are hearing the first truly great song of the year. One listen to Hannah’s “She wonders where you are now” line and your heart melts, when the song reaches it’s peak and that same, passionate voice sings “ She’s wasted on you” over and over again there’s no turning back, Hannah has found a way into your soul and has no plans on leaving any time soon. It’s not just the highlight of this album; it’s the highlight of the year so far. It’s no fluke either, the second song, another solo Hannah composition and the title song of the album, is a beautiful ballad, all piano, strings and acoustic guitars. Anyone who has ever left the comfort of home for the lure of bright lights and spent the rest of their time trying to make their way back will appreciate the lyrics here. Again, a superb vocal performance by Hannah and not for the first or last time she will break your heart. By the third song, Alex obviously wanted to prove it wasn’t only his wife who could write a memorable tune. Taking the writing credits and the lead vocals, it’s full of chiming guitars, while Alex recalls his childhood, and it’s a melody you won’t get tired of, which is good as it will play in your head for days. The military drums, those background vocals and David Rothon’s guitar all contribute in making the song exceptional, with a sound not too far removed from Roger McGuinn fronting Drive By Truckers. ‘Please Come Running’ starts as another Hannah-penned heartbreaker, all acoustic guitar and weeping pedal steel before all hell breaks loose with the rousing chorus. Again, the rasping vocals from Alex offset Hannah’s innocent, pure voice remarkably well. Not for the first time the song picks up pace at the end and the interplay between the band, and especially the two vocalists is something that deserves to be heard. The band seem to throw in everything in the closing minute or so of this and some other songs, and it’s a good trick, even a ballad like this ends on an ‘up’ with you wanting more. This band is outstanding, as is this collection of songs, one song will have you wanting to dance even if you haven’t for years (‘Pick Up, Shut Up’; a hybrid of The Stones, The Faces and Wilco), the next song will break your heart, (‘Burning It Down’ a gem of a song about not only lost love but lost roots too), but it’s something they can do within the confines of a single song too. That opening shot is just one prime example. The album closes with a reprise of the title track. All strings and breathtaking guitar highlighting the poignant melody of the song before Hannah’s lone voice begs “Take Me Home” one last time. This album is more than we could have hoped for, the band have taken the sound of their first album and expanded upon it but without sacrificing any of the appeal of that first collection of songs. Twelve excellent songs, outstanding playing and production (by Sean Read and Chris Clarke), two of the best singers to emerge from Britain in recent years and exceptional songwriters make this one of the strongest albums we are likely to hear all year.

Track Listing:-
1 Wasted On You
2 Take Me Home
3 Coastline
4 Please Come Running
5 Burning It Down
6 Empty Feeling
7 She Is Yours
8 Harbour Lights
9 Friend In The Dark
10 Don't Know Why
11 Pick Up, Shut Up
12 Take Me Home (Reprise)

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Interview (2007)
Redlands Palomino Co - Interview
One of the best of the British wave of Americana bands, the Redlands Palomino Company have a rising reputation. Malcolm Carter speaks to husband and wife team Alex and Hannah Elton-Wall about their group's two albums and recently released new EP


Future of the Left (2009)
Neil Bailey photographs Cardiff-based indie guitar rockers Future of the Left at a show at the Manchester Academy on their recent tour

digital downloads


She is Yours (2007)
Extraordinarily good country rock on new EP from London-based Americana group, the Redlands Palomino Company, whose second album 'Take Me Home' came out earlier this year
By The Time You Hear This...we'll Be Gone (2004)

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