“The Duo of Sharon Cannings and Martin Nicholls aka Candacraig release their long awaited debut album. After a number of years performing, Thunder of Whispers is a stylish offering that musically balances both light and dark. This dense, melodic work plays out with a cinematic feel and the collage of noise that begins “Overture of Water/Shadow Girl” winds into a haunting statement with Cannings’ voice dominating the minimalism. There’s a slight directional change with “Stood on a Hill” as rolling piano and a playful beat create shades of hope. Both “Dreaming You” and “Fearless” are sublime acoustic pieces, whereas “One More Time” displays a Kate Bush influence, the drama created with piano and voice delivered with a power and precision. “Come Unto These Yellow Sands” is Candacraig at their most adventurous, combining electric and organic instruments to create something truly atmospheric. The anthemic “We Will Sing Again” is an upbeat piece that shows another side, before closing with the excellent “When You Dwell in the Dark”. Thunder of Whispers is an album of varied styles that blend superbly and effortlessly.”
“Lincolnshire Duo, seemingly effortlessly fuse elements of folk, classic and prog rock on the energetic and evocative “Fearless”, which features on their debut album “Thunder of Whispers”.”
‘Overture Of Water /Shadowgirl’ begins with the sound of a ship’s bell as a wireless gets tuned into the shipping forecast, water lapping on the shore as gulls swarm overhead, ready for the big catch, as the plaintive guitar of Martin Nicholls is picked mournfully in the background. This leads into the second and main part of the song, introducing the folksy and haunting tones of Sharon Cannings, simultaneously a beguiling siren and the beguiled sailor. Swooping sweeping strings and pipes abound, and the guitar accompanies those sweet vocal musings, putting me in mind somewhat of Julianne Regan and Tim Bricheno-Smith at their finest. Sharon’s voice soars throughout and stars are plucked from the sky. The song indeed moves in beauty, like the night. An insistent piano circa ‘Hounds Of Love’
era Kate Bush leads us into ‘Stood On A Hill’ now, as we’re beckoned into the immersive world of Candacraig, going willingly into that place. Breathless, the ending comes upon us, and up here the air is cleaner, sweeter, purer. The sweetness continues with ‘Dreaming You’ a breathy, lilting affair with echoing, dreamlike overdubs, rapture from the arms of Morpheus. Sweet, but short. We are awoken by piano notes now for ‘One More Time’ and a sumptuous ballad ensues, the vocal leaving traces of Maddy Prior in little bursts. The keys really own this one, coming into their own towards the conclusion. Our next track is ‘Fearless’ introduced once more by guitar with a close-up vocal that kicks. I’m getting notes of Beatles, Waterboys infused with World Party, and ‘Fugazi’ era Marillion. If the album has an anthem, surely this is the one. Sharon really embraces her inner rock-chick here. ‘Oh Whistle And I’ll Come To You’ with waves, piano and voice is very English folk in the model of Renaissance, an ethereal quality shining faintly through like a comforting yet eerie glow, fire devils dancing in the grate on simmering coals, tantalising, mesmerising and again beguiling. ‘Come Unto These Yellow Sands’ could be the call of a benign siren, guiding us past the treacherous rocks to safety. Songs of the sea are a classic staple of the idiom, but that can make them more of a challenge to get convincingly right, which Candacraig manage with some not inconsiderable aplomb. Sharon’s tones on this song filtered perhaps through the wonderful Sally Oldfield, and matched perfectly with Martin’s attentive and sympathetic guitar technique. Industrial discord and fried wires of some demi-apocalypse open with piano hammers and spoken word for ‘The End Of The World’ finding beauty in the routine, like an undiscovered song on the fadeout of a Miranda Sex Garden tape. Rage against the dying of the light indeed. The guitar works itself into an electric frenzy, barely controlled as the feedback buzz of devices intercept the message. ‘We Will Sing Again’ is a wholly different thing, a real sea change, a proper singalong worthy of Dylan or Leadbelly, maybe; very American bluesy/folksy, yet with elements of the Schulwerks of Carl Orff. If you haven’t joined in with the chorus by half way through you’d maybe better check your pulse. And so we bid a fond farewell with the closing track, ‘When You Dwell In The Dark’, a knowing Joni Mitchell-esque lyric, with a sweet, sweet refrain. It’s truly, breathtakingly, haunting, and leaves on a teardrop.
Throughout, what strikes most is the purity, the clarity, the beauty of the album. Martin’s guitar work, as indeed all the music, is played with a sense of fitting poignancy, and oh, the voice and libretto! We may have found, in Sharon Cannings, the latest lady of Laurel Canyon.”