Ward Thomas have been steadily building up quite the following over the past couple of years, from performing at the c2c pop stages in 2014, they have gone from strength to strength and are certainly flying the flag for British Country. Oddly enough they are not particularly well known outside of the UK but after a near sell out headlining tour of the UK and co-headling tour with the undisputed greatest duo of all time The Shires, and a lot of support from Radio 2, it’s only a matter of time before they choose to try their luck state-side.
Their début album ‘From Where We Stand’ featured among the higher echelons of the UK country charts. Now the duo are releasing their latest and probably last single to be released from the album, ‘Guest List’.
One of the things I like about the both of them is that they are very personable, bubbly and easy going, and that certainly manifests itself in their songs. However, it shouldn’t cloud the fact that they are both talented songwriters.
The music they have released also suits their style; too many artists nowadays tend to go with the electric guitars and drums ramped up to full blast, to the extent you can hear them in Alaska. However Ward Thomas have always kept it relatively simple, not going overboard by overproducing the tracks to the extent it overshadows their vocals.
‘Guest List’ very much continues along the same vein. A cheerful song about expressing their admiration or crush for a boy, the song opens with a very country guitar hook. Instantly from the first verse you get a vibe for the theme, “Each time you come out of the blue you tell me new and unexpected… each time I try to understand but I’ve never been to the places you’ve been… think I’ve seen all the different things I could be because of you”. Pretty much anyone can relate to meeting someone for the first time and you just go ‘wow’, and that in itself is why many have taken to Ward Thomas.
The analogy of seeing a guy as being ‘top of the guest list’ is certainly a unique way of expressing admiration. The chorus again is very catchy, “You’re that someone on the top of the guest list, each little story that I tell has got you in it, there’s something about you I can’t put my finger on it”.
Vocally as any duo should they harmonize very well together and having seen them live as well they have never sounded out of tune; one of the things I liked about their album is their consistency. I guess if I was to be mildly critical, I would say that with ‘Guest List’ and a few of their other tracks is that they seem to be very much in their comfort zone.
‘Guest List’ is one of my favorite tracks from the album but at the same time it hardly stands out, and I think this is perhaps holding them back a little. Comparing them to another all girl duo Maddie and Tae, Ward Thomas don’t seem to quite have that wow factor vocally like their American counterparts. Of course vocals aren’t everything, the Ward Thomas girls are clearly talented songwriters, ‘Guest List’ just one of many examples on the album, but I would like to see something a bit more edgy and some darker themes to mix in with what has made them popular in the first place, much like promising UK soloist Sasha McVeigh.
It says a lot though that ‘Guest List’ sounds more country than the majority of what’s been released in the US in the past few months. Makes you think really, should the US be taking us more seriously?