Angel Air 2015
Gain from afar: former AFFINITY singer delivers her second solo album, more than four decades after the first one.
Fetch might be something one gets with an effort but the Roger Dean cover of this record suggests another meaning of the titular word: the distance traveled by wind or waves across open water. That’s what Hoyle did a few years ago when she flew over from Canada to join her erstwhile band members in Sussex for what is known as "The Baskervilles Reunion 2011" now. There and then the seeds of the follow-up to 1971’s “Pieces Of Me” were sown to blossom into something less experimental yet sounding effortless and very personal. The seeds were also ones of memory – the album’s opening line “For what was scattered is now gathered” hints at the plentiful harvest – one to give it all an autobiographical bent, a hymnal finale of “Acknowledgements” listing those whose music’s been shaping Lynda’s own vision, while nostalgic songs like the seductively groovy, sitar-caressed “Maida Vale” and the folky, dewy-eyed “Brighton Pier” set map markers for her journey.
Its current chapter begins with the title track which finds Hoyle’s ethereal voice flying over the sea of tribal percussion which, eventually, takes her into a trance-like bluesy chant only to burst it with explosive chorus, before this sense of movement is carried over to “Cut And Run” with the glide of producer Mo Foster‘s fretless bass that ushers in a mesmerizing flow rippled with Doug Boyle’s electric and Oliver Whitehead’s acoustic guitars. The drift may get spiritual as it does in “Snowy Night” when BJ Cole’s steel kisses Linda’s silvery vocals and in the celestial soundscape of “Earth And Stars” that’s based on a Henry Purcell melody, but the singer never veers too much away from jazz, an integral part of her artistic manner. So, although the graceful hope of “It’s The World” is covered with a fiddle-embroidered patina, a brassy uplift wraps the deceptively introspective, if full of funny moments, “Confessional” – rendered nocturnal thanks to Gary Husband’s gentle shots and splashes and Ray Russell’s strum.
The jolly “So Simple” takes the motion further, though, its joie de vivre defying time, as if there was no gap in Hoyle’s career. Yet she’s an art therapist nowadays so she knows the secret of the “assembly required” method: it’s not about putting things together but about gathering kindred souls for a common purpose. And if this goal was to fetch such a gem, it was worth the wait.