One of the hardest-working independent artists in the country, Shannon Hope would deserve a degree of success based purely on the hours she puts in.
But Fight A New Day subtly improves on the winning formula established with debut collection Still, underlining that Hope is about far more than just graft. Her big, expressive voice – more than ever, the “new Lesley Rae Dowling” tag fits the bill – is given acres of room to move by Tim Rankin’s sensitive production.
And Hope’s songwriting has stepped up to keep pace.
The Waiting Room and Believe differ in tone and intent (the first is introspective; the second inspiring) but are both beautifully written and performed.
Why I Bother is a touch more complex in terms of its arrangement, the down-the-line pop of Being Brave has the album’s biggest hook in its chorus and Love Knot is The Cardigan’s come-back hit waiting to happen.
Hope’s technical strengths are matched by the passion in her performances, and when she leans into a note she’s singing, it’s easy to picture the front row at a concert having to lean towards her to avoid being flattened by the power of her voice.