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Steffi Thiel & Michael Cashmore – Late but Never

Steffi Thiel & Michael Cashmore - Late but Never

Late but Never is an album that, at first, brought about memories of my olden nights when I used to enjoy listening to the mellow songs of Hannah Fury while enjoying my evening tea. No artificial lights, no hectic urban labyrinth outside the window and no noisy highway taking its toll on my senses. These days, I nest in the outskirts of the capital of Sweden and seldom find myself having the time to just relax and let the serene moments of life take over. It is a good thing, then, that music such as this exists to help build a wall around yourself and shield you from the madness that is modern civilisation. Steffi Thiel is a new acquaintance to me, but since she is joined by the brilliant Michael Cashmore, whose work with Nature & Organisation has brought me much joy during the past eras of my life, my expectancies of this album were quite high.

First and foremost, Late but Never is, in many ways, quite an intriguing journey into the more mellow singer-songwriter context than I had first suspected. Thiel’s voice is pure and delicate like the winds’ gentle whisper through the leaves and manages to balance gently on the border of emotions. Her vocals are, however, somewhat of a mixed bag, at times filled to the brim with soul and emotion while at other times beautiful but soulless. Somehow I get the impression that she has so much more to express, but that level of depth never really gets a chance to bloom on this album. Taking into account that the songs are all quite dulcet and serene, Late but Never still feels as if Thiel could transfer more of herself into her voice. A prime example of this is in the final moments of “A Voice through a Cloud”, where I just wanted to hear her be a bit more convincing in the way she wove the story as it played out in front of the listener. It’s still a great song that has been born from two beautiful minds; I just get the feeling that it could have been so much more than it currently is.

Steffi Thiel

Steffi Thiel

Michael Cashmore delivers the same great music that has come to be expected from him, yet still the music here and there feels a bit oddly composed. There is quite the eclectic mixture of electric guitars going on in a few songs that really diminishes the old rustic feeling of traditional folk that this album builds up. However, this relative nitpicking aside, the general composition and arrangement of the songs are good, and it is really a varied album despite having quite a limited range of vocalisation. The production is crystal clear, and that is another thing that I believe harms this album. It just could have used some more unpolished, organic energy that only a live recording can produce instead of the nearly pitch-perfect illusion that is modern studio music.

Steffi Thiel is a promising voice in the scene, and while the vocal effort is acceptable, it still lacks that certain spark that could have lifted this album up. The lyrics on Late but Never are the strongest point by far, with an intriguing storytelling that is seldom encountered in today’s songwriting.

Track List:

01) Tonight
02) The Bells Ring
03) Hearts Fear
04) The Clover
05) No One
06) A Bird
07) Late but Never
08) A Voice Through a Cloud
09) Hello Tangerine
10) Dough Light
11) Circling Suns
12) We Reel

Rating: 3.5/5
Written by: Skarsnik
Label: Coptic Cat (UK) / NIFE015CD / Digi-CD
Traditional Folk