Abby, an artist from the mystical land of Middle-Earth (also known as New Zealand, I am sure she will hit me for that one), has been on my radar for over seven years. When I first discovered this singer-songwriter, I was immediately hooked by her catchy lyrics and the range of music she holds in her personal portfolio. You fancy a track with a great beat, ‘Strange Affection’ is your jam. How about ‘Kiwi Boy’ if you want a short and sweet hit. Also, there is a certain song which has Abby talking about a certain type of hair (trust me, it’s a damn good track that will tickle you to the core).
Late last year, I got the opportunity to listen to the new Quadruple Album that Abby has just released. Four albums are a lot for any artist, but the combination on show is of a high quality throughout. So, where do we begin? I start with BOMBASTIC FABLES.
BOMBASTIC FABLES is definitely the dance album in this playlist. ‘Milly Elliot’ and ‘Peanut Butter’ had been made available to the masses before the Quadruple pack was released, it served as a great taster to this upbeat collection. Where the former track is a more chilled introduction, the latter and others such as ‘Gasoline & Fire’ and ‘On The Radio’ has a lot more punch to them. Also, this section consists of 14 superb tracks which clock at just over half an hour. A tight timeframe, but the selection on display definitely warrant a repeat play. Yes, that is 14 songs! Meaning the average track is just over two minutes long, more than enough time to keep you dancing.
FLIPPANT COMFORT is the next part to this foursome of sounds. While remaining upbeat in sound, the lyrics in some of these songs really hit hard. ‘Know Me Now’ sounds like it works a lot of self-identity into its runtime and I could feel my heart in my throat when ‘Find Me’ reached its conclusion. How can one person really make two distinctly different albums and still make them sound familiar to each other? The second album clearly works some emotion and goes for a more grounded wordplay compared to the uplifting start of the Quadruple Album.
LIVE AT THE KIDS TABLE is the swiftest collection in this package. With just four songs, these tracks showcase Abby where she is able to provide a rawer experience. ‘7 Foot Man’ is a short track which is catchy enough to sing along to after a few plays. The set presented reminds me of seeing Abby live on stage, which I have been lucky enough to witness a few times. ‘If You Need Someone’ is definitely the highlight here, it is a greatly crafted tune with some deep lyrics and a damn good guitar solo to boot (yes, the guitar solo is fantastic and I want it as my ringtone).
MUTED CARNIVAL is the final piece to this selection. This is where we have a more chilled selection to close out the 4-part album. I almost feel an influence from artists such as Emeli Sande or Martha Redbone, the tones are so welcoming and they hold some great storytelling within the deep lyrics. ‘Enough’ is a beautiful piano led track that should be heard in full with no other sound to dilute the experience. Then the closing track ‘School Yard Fear’ is a hauntingly tender ballad which makes you at one point question how did we get to this point, considering the more dance-centric start. But, this is the perfect ending.
As someone who has known Abby a long time, I can honestly say that her music has just gotten better and better. This is an artist who is not afraid to experiment with different styles, take on various subjects and really take you on a rollercoaster of emotion. The Quadruple Album is indeed a treat for the eyes and a feast for your ears. The 35 tracks are all well crafted with the execution and quality you would expect from a singer-songwriter who loves her work.
If you get the chance, do go and see Abby Holden at one of her live shows. You will be in stitches from the comedy beats she drops in her chats with the crowd and you shall be amazed by the performance that you shall experience on that stage.
FINAL RATING: 9/10
Final Thought: A true masterclass in creating quantity and quality in total harmony.
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove