Review by Graham Chalmers
Holly Rose Webber: Sparkle & Fade (album)
Within seconds of the opening bars of the cracking indie-ish country rocker Angel Eyes, the opening track of Sparkle & Rain, it’s crystal clear this is a serious album and Holly Rose Webber is a serious talent.
Such is the quality of her own voice built on her own songwriting, aided by superb musical arranging and accompaniment, it’s hard to believe it’s this novice Harrogate singer’s debut ‘long player.’
Backed expertly with bite but warmth by veteran Harrogate musician Frank Mizen on a bewildering array of instruments, from pedal steel to bouzouki, Holly is straight out of the golden age of the 70s when Nashville first met rock and acoustic music dropped the hearts and flowers routine.
Personally, I think she needs to be even more confident in her vocals to unleash her full potential but in every moment of every track the bravely honest Holly never sounds anything less than utterly believable.
Worldly but not world-weary, everything here sounds autobiographical, even on the only cover, a delicate and sublime version of Suspicious Minds. It’s a sign of the high standards of this brilliant series of largely self-penned songs recorded with typical zing in Dan Mizen’s Active Audio Studios that Presley’s classic hit is by no means the standout track.
Picking a favourite is impossible, for everything Holly touches turns to gold on this impressive album. Is the best song the teary-eyed acoustic ballad It’s Only Fools, or the tougher rocker Give & Take?
Perhaps it’s the life-affirming, rites of passage title track itself, Sparkle & Fade?
Best of all for my money is the instantly memorable Love Ain’t Enough. If you can listen to this wonderful song’s melodic sparkle without it repeating in your head for days on end, you’re sense of hearing has clearly faded.