Jo Bywater: Cycle Grace Pulse Break

~ Tuesday, 1 February 2011
The first thing that struck me when I first listened to this, the debut album from Jo Bywater, was how much she reminds me of a fresh faced KT Tunstall. I don't mean she is a like for like copy, but rather that her passion, playing style and quirkiness is much the same as what first attracted me to Ms Tunstall. This is a fairly raw piece of work with little in the way of production but when it is just an acoustic guitar and voice then there is something reassuring about keeping a live feel to the proceedings.

Bywater's influences obviously come from the alternative end of the acoustic world with the likes of Newton Faulkner, Nick Harper and Jon Gomm having played a part in what Bywater is trying to achieve. While her guitar playing is competent, it is however her soaring vocals that mark her out from the crowd. Album Opener Disclaimer will have any listener checking to make sure they are not listening an early KT Tunstall recording. The resemblance is uncanny. She does however stamp her own individuality on this record with the downbeat Smokescreen where she uses the body of the guitar for percussion.

The seven tracks contained on this album show Bywater to be a talent that still needs to be nurtured rather than the finished article but with songs like Wave in her repertoire, she certainly has the makings of something special.

[][][][] (4/5)