Liz Green

Haul Away!

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Haul Away!, the second album from Manchester singer/songwriter Liz Green, walks a beat similar to her jazzy 2011 debut O, Devotion! It's no surprise then, that she considers it a sort of sea-inspired sequel to her more earthbound debut and in keeping with an intended trilogy of albums. Frequent references to the sea, islands, and water abound, though this is no attempt at shanties or rough-hewn British folk. The torchy, whimsical, and often maudlin tones of her earlier work remain throughout Haul Away!'s 11 songs. Working again with producer Liam Watson at his analog-leaning Toe Rag Studios, terms like organic and vintage easily come to mind when listening to Green's songs, which pull influences from American blues, jazz, and folk music. Her round, throaty voice wraps itself around playful, hip-swaying piano tracks like "Rybka" and the shuffling "Where the River Don't Flow," whose snaky saxophone and tuba bassline are indicative of the album's overall sonic character. Rarely does Green stray from her bailiwick of vaguely melancholic, cabaret club quirkiness. As on her first album, Haul Away! continues to play up the period-piece aesthetic so hard that tracks like the understated and stoic folk opener "Battles" feel like a breath of fresh sea air amid all the late-night cigarette smoke. Yes, the album is beautifully recorded and Green's voice is strong and full of character, but in striving for some sort of stylistic authenticity, much of the overall content feels a bit undercooked. There is much to like about Green's music, but if Haul Away! is indeed part of a potential trilogy, let's hope the songwriting on her third offering outweighs its stylish ambitions.

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