That Thea Gilmore’s latest album is as pretty as it is thought-provoking, as bewitching as it is bold, will come as no surprise to her army of admirers. Since releasing her debut as a teenager nearly 20 years ago, the Oxfordshire-raised, Cheshire-based singer and songwriter has gained global acclaim for making music not only of extraordinary beauty, but of rare honesty and insight.
What will surprise fans is how The Counterweight (released in June 2017) sounds. Fifteen albums in, Thea has all but abandoned her trusty acoustic guitar in favour of an iPad and a piano. The change forced her out of her comfort zone in to exploring new methods of composing as well as new ways of recording.
While, sonically, The Counterweight marks a fresh start, its outward-looking themes – the shifting political landscape, our absorption in technology, America’s gun culture and the search for hope in times of trouble included – bear striking similarities to Thea’s 2003 breakthrough album Avalanche. So much so, in fact, that the singer considers The Counterweight a companion album to Avalanche, or more accurately, “its more mature older sister”.