Little Oak: Breaking Light review – worth the wait

Fri, Mar 30, 2018, 05:00


Breaking Light

Little Oak


Singer / Songwriter

Six years to the week that she released her debut album, Dark Falls, Doireann Ansbro returns with a tardy follow-up. The wait has been worth it.

Where the debut tipped a hat to US indie-folk acts such as Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, Breaking Light takes its lead more often from classic UK folk.

Little Oak - Slow Blossom Burning

Songs such as Reds and Golds, Stones Across the Water, Slow Burning Blossoming, and Fire reference virtually forgotten singer-songwriters such as Bridget St John, Annie Briggs and Jaki Whitren, and fondly recalled groups such as The Pentangle and Mellow Candle, but Ansbro’s characterful songwriting remains very much in focus.

In other words, there isn’t anything here that fans of the usually overlooked genre haven’t heard before, but Ansbro’s touches are light and lay on the right side of reverential. It doesn’t matter, also, if the reference points mean little because Ansbro forges a path with empathetic lyrics that touch on heartfelt topics close to heart and (in particular) home.

Texturally, it isn’t as sparse as the music it owes a debt to, thanks in no small part to first-rate collaborative work from Mary Barnecutt (cello) and Rafael Abdalla (double bass).