Label: Fat Cat Records Release date: 15/10/10 Link: Official Site The latest release from quirky folk group Gregory and the Hawk, the brainchild of a woman better known as Meredith Godreau, is a third album called Leche. This is an album of a generally very sombre tone, more so considering the most noticeable instruments present on the record include harps and other strings that create a melancholic, thoughtful background upon which Godreau can provide her almost haunting vocals in similar style to that of Joanna Newsome. Godreau is an astoundingly talented musician and Leche is the perfect way for her to display this talent, representing an almost faultless record of peerless songwriting. Right from album opener ‘For The Best’ through to closing track ‘Dream Machine’, there are no weak songs on this album. Every track presents a slightly different variant on the one before, and there are very subtle changes of pace and tone that you only start to notice after a few listens that help keep the record fresh and ensures it doesn’t get boring. It is also stunningly beautiful in places as well; ‘Puller Return’ has the wonderful lyrics ‘I just died in your arms tonight’, and must be a candidate for one of the most heart-string-tugging songs for a while. It’s not all sombre though. There are some fantastically catchy, more upbeat songs that get stuck in your head for days (trust me). ‘Olly Olly Oxen Free’, which, on the grapevine, may be the latest single, is a brilliant offering of chugging acoustic guitars and soaring violins, although not as insanely catchy as ‘Leaves’. This particular track, towards the end of the album includes a funky double bass breakdown amongst a more comprehensive orchestral sound but has a fantastic rhythm to it, and the lyrics ‘I, I, love, love, the way you look at me’ are almost impossible to remove once they bury themselves into your head. A mention should also go to ‘Soulgazing’, a lovely slow number with a good string breakdown and some well-layered vocals that results in probably the prettiest song of the lot. What Leche really represents is a great balance of simplicity and elegance. As displayed on tracks such as ‘Leaves’, the lyrics are often simple but they are incredibly effective. In addition, often simple, twangy guitar lines are the only accompaniment Godreau has to her voice, but that is no problem as her voice is by far the best aspect of Gregory and the Hawk’s sound, and which this particular writer would happily listen to all day. This is a very talented woman, and this album should be recognised much higher than it probably will be. Photobucket