Gregory and The Hawk, it sounds like a children’s book does it not? Indeed, singer songwriter, Meredith Godreau, took the name from her brother, Gregory, and his imaginary childhood hawk in a George Eliot-esque move – wearing the mask of someone/something else to gain credibility and avoid being pigeonholed. In Godreau’s case it was to avoid getting lumped together with other “singer songwriters”, and move away from the po-faced, creativity void that that moniker suggests, however unfairly.

Regardless, it’s a lovely name, a feint so that when you actually press play the music is that much more disarming and disorientating. And from the spare, rhythmically diverse, instrumentation to the childlike vocals, disarming it is, and beautifully so. Indeed If Godreau is Gregory then her songs are manifestly the hawk, swooping down and attacking you from out of sight, but in a nice way. No blood, screeching and crying.

I think you can tell within the first few bars of hearing an artist that’s new to you, how much you’re going to like them. From the first notes of the delightfully melancholic acoustic number, ‘For the Best’, with Gregory’s elegiac intoning floating gently in, it becomes quickly and abundantly clear that I’m going to like this a lot.

From the oriental–style picking on ‘Landscapes’, to the subtle strings that sparsely insinuate themselves into the music, Leche moves on quickly, never settling on one theme or rhythm – a fact that reflects Meredith’s confession that travelling influenced much of the album. It is both strange and unsurprising, then, when we find that Godreau has travelled so far, that on ‘Puller Return’ she ends up in the eighties, referencing Cutting Crew’s ‘(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight’.

Simultaneously, the lo-fi production gives Leche a sense of intimacy. Godreau’s moving far and wide, but she wants to take you with her. So in the end, it is somewhat inappropriate that she wears “Gregory (and The Hawk)” as a mask, when everything else says “here I am”, someone quirky like Joanna Newsom, but not so eccentric. It’s to her credit that she holds all these contradictions together and turns it into something as stunning as this wonderful, sophomore album.

Chris Gilliver

I started out writing for the Manchester Evening News as a freelance journalist back in 2008. The idea that I would be given free access to music and gigs seemed somehow miraculous to me, and I proceeded to take full advantage of the situation. When the M.E.N. decided to constrict its coverage to only the very biggest bands, Simon Poole approached me with a plan to make sure that all the very talented musicians of this world that pass through and/or live in Manchester would not go unnoticed. As the New Releases editor here at Silent Radio Towers, it remains my proud duty to cast a critical eye over the music and reviews that come my way in a manner that is both supportive and fair. Above all, I strive to write as entertainingly possible. Favourite musicians include the Pixies, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Mercury Rev, Os Mutantes, The Knife, Beach House etc etc. I'm a firm believer that all genres (except nu-metal) contain music of great quality...