Perfectionists have their faults. When everything in music is exact, it can often end up missing the vital heart. It’s like a landscape painting with too many straight edges, or being given cheat codes to a game - the fun runs dry pretty quick. Woman’s Hour don’t deny that they take time over things. Tiny details are considered, with everything in terms of look and feel being a big part of their journey. But there’s a difference between deep thought and overdoing things. Woman’s Hour aren’t perfectionists. And even if they were, they find heart in relating debut ‘Conversations’ to human emotions. Whereas some precise electronic pop records come off cold, this one has a genuine soul.
It shows itself up in ‘Darkest Place”s heart-shattering line “for the first second of every day, I don’t understand why you’re not around.” It rears its head again in ‘Our Love Has No Rhythm”s closing, soaring guitar line, the sky being a pathetic limit that’s easily surpassable. And throughout, Fiona Burgess oversees everything with emotional depth. She doesn’t hold notes like a perfectionist would - instead, she gives herself to every line, like it might be the last one she ever sings. Buried beneath is a set of synth effects and heady loops that could, by their own merit, succeed on an instrumental electronic record. There’s a lot of depth to take in, here.
‘Conversations’ nearly weighs itself down with heavy topics. On the outside these are desperately melancholic songs with very little breathing space. But inside they offer something different. ‘Reflections’ is a romantic, steamed up daydreamer. ‘To The End”s finger-clicking slickness has a similar effect. Intentionally ambiguous, these songs can be uplifting, intimate or a source of refuge. In every scenario they work (although this isn’t the average summer holiday soundtrack, let’s be clear).
This album is, in reality, the sound of perfectionists giving into instinct. And once they shun exactitude and all its side effects, they emerge with a dazzling debut.