Album Reviews

Hush – A Lifetime

(Polydor) UK release date: 19 September 2005

Hush - A Lifetime Over here, Hush is a means of quietening chatty people in libraries or cinemas. But in Denmark, it’s the collectively known name for Michael Hartmann and Dorthe Gerlach.

The duo met in 1997 when the then 17-year-old Gerlach was busking and Hartmann was looking for a vocalist. Joining forces, they formed Hush and eventually fell in love. (One, two three…aww!) The rest, as they say in clichéd circles, is history.

Hush are something slightly different. Their music is a bizarre combination of pop, folk, melodic rock and country. Imagine The Corrs, Fleetwood Mac (with Stevie Nicks) and Mary Chapin Carpenter going out for a pint, getting trashed and writing an album, and you’re somewhere close. Even Hartmann admits it’s unusual, but it works well. In fact, the majority of their songs are radio-friendly enough to be welcome on Radio 2.

The ‘country’ feel to this, their debut album (which has already reached number one and gone gold in their native country), is accentuated by Gerlach’s vocals. Like country icon Dolly Parton, Gerlach has a vibrato that would shame many sheep.

Commencing the album is If You Go Breaking My Heart. It’s one of the more countryfied songs on the album, but with added strings, along with That Don’t Make It Right. Indeed, both titles would be at home on a Highway 101 album cover.

Hush’s first single, If I Was, is in a different vein. Upbeat and catchy, the song uses unusual instruments such as mandolin, laut and banjo (all played by Hartmann). Originally used on Jonas Elmer’s film Monas Verden, the song’s subject matter is rather taboo, being about incest with lyrics like “I got one memory of it, but I won’t try and trade it, cause I’m daddy’s girl” .

Other tracks are similarly unusual. Sometimes is a lullaby-like tune that is juxtaposes with its theme of murder. Heartbreak, obsession and betrayal are other topics wrapped up in Hush’s lush ambiguous melodies. One such song is For How Long about being made to wait by a lover. The beautiful piano backing is reminiscent of She’s Like The Wind, the Patrick Swayze song She’s Like The Wind, much beloved by those who remember Dirty Dancing.

In comparison, Lovestruck is a very simple, happy straightforward song – possibly a reason as to why it was chosen for the new pan-European VW Polo advert.

A Lifetime is a fine debut and a ‘grower’. On first listen, it’s nothing special. But after a couple of plays, it’s a different story. And those are often the best type. Certainly, it’s not essential to be a Shania Twain and company fan to like Hush, but an appreciation will probably help.


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Hush – A Lifetime