Personnel: Josienne Clarke (vocals, saxophone); Ben Walker (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, synthesizer, glockenspiel, programming); Anna Jenkins (viola); Jo Silverston (cello); Heather Ryall (bass clarinet); Jim Rattigan (French horn); Paul Mosley (euphonium); Kit Downes (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); John Parker (double bass); James Maddren (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Ben Walker.
Recording information: Rockfield Studios, Wales (03/07/2016-03/13/2016).
Photographer: Louise Curtis.
Wistful British folk duo Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker follow up make their Rough Trade debut with Overnight, their third album overall. It follows their sparsely arranged four-song EP, Through the Clouds, which appeared earlier in 2016, offering a brief glimpse of the forthcoming set. Like each of the duo's releases, Overnight works in a misty milieu of hushed folk delicacy with Clarke's pearly voice weaving around the tasteful guitar work of her counterpart. As far as arrangements go, it's not quite as spartan as the EP that preceded it, though it is ultimately more minimalist than the lush chamber folk of 2014's Nothing Can Bring Back the Hour. A mix of originals and well-chosen covers, Clarke and Walker continue to favor the traditions of U.K. folk with occasional forays into Americana, classical, and jazz. In fact, one of Overnight's highlights is a transcontinental tribute to another acclaimed folk duo in their cover of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings' "Dark Turn of Mind," an earthy gem which takes a more ethereal tone here and features a lovely string arrangement from Walker. The gentle indie pop of the Clarke original, "The Waning Crescent," is a nice surprise, breaking up a string of fragile tracks with a slight tempo and mood boost. Walker's orchestrations and guitar work are thoughtful and elegant throughout and Clarke's voice is its own sweet instrument, making for another well-recorded collection. ~ Timothy Monger