In 2013 the musical duo Luna Rossa released their debut album Sleeping Pills & Lullabies (see review). The duo consists of two members who are also musical partners in the British band Panic Room, namely Anne-Marie Helder (vocals, 6 & 12-string acoustic guitar, flute, grand piano) and Jonathan Edwards (grand piano, electric piano, acoustic guitar, backing vocals). On their debut they most of all showed that they can entertain an audience with a minimum of electric instruments. They only had some help from a string quartet plus a couple of other guest musicians. Furthermore the album proved that sometimes less is more! That the two of them already would come up with a follow up album one year after this excellent release I hadn't expected at all. But it's true, Secrets & Lies is the second baby of this musical marriage between Helder and Edwards.
The question arises of course if they managed to raise this second child with the same kind of strong musical qualities as with their first born. Did they bring us, as they would say themselves, another breathtaking album in their unique and stripped-back Luna Rossa style? After listening to the eleven tracks on Secrets & Lies the questions can be answered positively. I don't know how they did it, but the musical inspirations between this couple seemed to be endless! Once again the beautiful parts played on the grand piano and acoustic guitars sent shivers down my spine. Once again the voice of Anne-Marie brought an emotional charge that is hard to describe. She takes you into her deep emotional feelings she isn't afraid to share with you! Once again I didn't have the urge to turn the disc off before it played all of the strong compositions. Because strong they are indeed. Those who think that not enough variety can be brought by playing only mellow music on acoustic instruments is completely wrong. By letting Andy Coughlan play on the double bass, Sarah Dean on the Celtic harp and Tim Hammill on the guitars enough variety is brought in. Also the contribution of The Luna Rossa Quartet for the second time certainly made Secrets & Lies sound very diverse, giving the songs a classical touch from time to time!
One can only conclude that Anne-Marie Helder and Jonathan Edwards must be very proud parents by delivering such an incredibly beautiful new baby. Everything is just perfect on this new child. A child they named Secrets & Lies deserves to be heard just like their first one Sleeping Pills & Lullabies. I can only say welcome to the world Secrets & Lies, I love you all the way!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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