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Saturday, 20th April 2019
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Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage - Awake

Hannah Sanders and Ben SavageTwo years after debut album Before the Sun gathered critical acclaim, Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage released Awake in the middle of last month.  It too, has prompted kind words from the scribes.

Your reviewer wanted to like this album, but the ears did not co-operate.  Both members of this duo sing and play their instruments well, and harmonically there’s a pleasing chemistry between them, the latter point demonstrated on Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key and A Thousand New Moons where they alternate lead vocals.

But overall, the work is too restrained, too staid.  Perhaps the material is the problem. Sanders and Savage  present mainly their own compositions here, having previously relied on  traditional fayre and contributions from others.

Generating sufficient quality to fill an album is no mean feat. There is nothing here that is memorable.

As a body of work Awake is also too once paced.  You can have slow, and a bit quicker than slow, but that’s about it.  An exception is old standard Reynardine, with a guitar accompaniment that drives it along nicely, but the leisurely, extended instrumental section on the end adds nothing, so why bother with it?

Perhaps at some point in future Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage will emerge with a collection of songs that is more complete.  But for now they will be filed under ‘Work in Progress.’

- Les Pilling


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