Luke Ritchie – The Water's Edge LP
The Water’s Edge is the fruits of two years of dedicated song-writing from Luke Ritchie. Having vowed to write a song a week for 6 months back in 2010, Ritchie quickly attracted attention from Nico Muhly, the globally acclaimed arranger who has worked with the likes of Bjork and Grizzly Bear, and Paul Savage, producer for Franz Ferdinand, with the latter recording the album over the course of two snowy weeks in Scotland to perfect the best bits from that 26 weeks of hard work.
There’s a moment in ‘Words’, just past the 4 minute mark, which captures everything that makes this album great. Ritchie’s voice, out of the blue, soars through a passionate “tonight…”, Muhly’s strings provide the sense of drama whilst the pianos anchor the song with enchanting melody. Everything blends together to create a moment of musical nirvana, the crescendo plateaus and Ritchie’s voice leads us out. When he said he was picking the best bits, he clearly meant the best bits.
It’s the power of Ritchie’s singing that makes this album; often singer/songwriters are praised for evoking realistic emotions through fragile vocals – just look at the praise Laura Marling receives for a case in point – but on The Water’s Edge ‘fragile’ is certainly not a word to be used. Even at its most tender moments, such as opener ‘The Lighthouse’, Ritchie’s voice is strong, masculine, but – importantly – doesn’t lack sincerity.
Essentially, Ritchie demonstrates his proficiency with a multitude of styles, sounding comfortable on upbeat shuffles such as ‘Shanty’ as well as the album’s aforementioned gentler moments. If he can produce something of this quality every six months, we’ll be looking forward to hearing a lot more from him in the future.
Words by Lewis Parker
'The Water's Edge' is available from July 23rd.