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The HaveNots | Bad Pennies (Circus 65)
Recently re-released, 'Bad Pennies' by Leicester's The HaveNots is worth checking out if you missed it first time around - its initial release having been scuppered somewhat by the inconvenience of Circus 65's distributor going belly-up soon afterwards.
The HaveNots are Sophie Marshall and Liam Dullaghan, both of whom are barely into their 20s. 'Bad Pennies' is a good album, but perhaps as with many artists the comparative ease with which it's possible to record an album these days has been pursued a little too soon. Arguably a better album may have resulted if they had spent honing their material on the live circuit before they rushed headlong into recording. Some of the songs, although all well executed and not without appeal, lack the distinction to make them genuinely memorable. Despite its flaws though, it wouldn't surprise me if the album was eventually looked back upon as the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.
When everything does gel however, on the likes of Shut Your Eyes and Sweetness + Light for example, Marshall and Dullaghan's brittle beautiful vocal harmonies amidst a keenly assimilated blend of Americana and English folk influences demonstrate why I believe they have the potential to develop and produce better work in future.
Irrespective of such reservations the album eventually reveals itself as a slow burner over time and one that stealthily packs a more emotional punch than at first realised. It's not a knockout yet by any means, but I'm confident they'll produce one and probably more eventually.
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003