Album Review: The War & Treaty – Hearts Town

Some artists have so much energy and talent that recorded music can barely convey or contain them. This fact is true of husband and wife duo Tanya and Michael Trotter, known as The War and Treaty, whose joyful, uplifting musical spirit has to be witnessed in real life to fully comprehend. To say I’m a true believer doesn’t even cover it.

Their debut album ‘The Healing Tide’ was a delightful mix of vintage soul and Americana that brimmed with the effervescent energy and vocal star power of the duo. Hearts Town, their wonderful new album, takes us to a place where pain is understood, music heals and there’s always another chance to begin again.

The album opens with Yearning, which sounds like an outpouring of emotional release. Letting go of the past is the only way for any of us to move forward. On ‘Beautiful’ they duet on a love song for each other. The tone of these opening songs is somewhat troubled, reflecting how much they’ve been through just to get here.

It is a relief then to hear them return to their joyful best on Five More Minutes. Despite its rousing, uplifting sound it was inspired by a dark time in Michael’s life. The strength and power of what it means to live, to survive, to thrive despite everything is conveyed in every note.

Title track Hearts Town is a rousing plea for faith and love to see us through the darkness. Make me a believer, they sing and we should all fall to our knees and worship the divine voices of these two.

Jubilee has a gorgeous, rootsy sound, something they did so well on the last album as well. Together their voices sound perfect and the mix puts them front and centre, creating a welcome mellow vibe.

They evoke another era with Hey Pretty Moon, a stunning jazz-inspired ballad. I love the orchestral touches and the way their voices support each other to new heights.

The second half of the album continues to mix a variety of musical styles. Jealousy and Liquid Lies have a more adult contemporary feel. Hustlin’ has the echo of pedal steel, a nod to their Americana influences. Tanya takes the lead on the uplifting jazzy Little Boy Blue and they finish with gospel-inspired ballad Take Me In, which is just stunning.

You just know these songs will really shine in the live arena, and so I just feel for them being robbed of that opportunity because of the pandemic. As a fan I’m just rooting for this band to get the recognition and attention they deserve.

Until we are all reunited at a live show make sure you take a journey to Hearts Town, where music heals, raises the spirit and can even save a life.

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