Having taken a break from the music industry to pursue other projects, The Questionnaires are back with a new twelve track album titled Atlantic Ridge. Hailing from Newcastle upon Tyne, Jane Wade and Steve Hall have written songs whose lyrics encapsulate general facets of modern life. And having made it between June 2019 and August 2020, their song writing encompasses the state of the world in these strange times.

Having surrounded themselves with a crack squad of musicians, opening track Heavy Heart is a lovely introduction to what The Questionnaires are all about. With the vocals and music being very distinctive, the songs just roll gently along. The Illustrated Woman sees excellent use of the piano by Les Watts, whilst Was I Ever? with its beautiful observational lyrics sees Niles Krieger excel with the violin on Wade and Hall’s harmonious vocals.

Hide And Seek has all the hallmarks of a great Steely Dan song and Anna Blue with Bevan Morris’ bowed bass is very Al Stewart sounding. Delivering lush, skilful and yet horizontally laid back compositions such as Worlds Collide and Only Then, After The Rain is very skilfully violin led.

You Don’t Need It All is another track where the harmonies take centre stage, enhanced greatly by Liam Fender playing the Hammond organ, before the highlight of the album, Ordinary People brings us right up to date with lyrics about nurses and a reference to the pandemic as we are reminded that we are just passing through.

With a couple of bonus tracks to round off an album which is delivered with panache and deep feeling, It Always Rains On Saturday is the most popular track from their first album, and a delightful unplugged version of Anna Blue which delivers just vocals accompanied by a guitar.

Atlantic Ridge is an album of songs that render so seamlessly together. It’s a measured and textured album, filled with subtle melodies. It is a little bit of pleasure just for pleasure’s sake. The downside is that an album that deserves to be heard will only be heard by a few but if you want a change from commercial and main stay music, then this album should be given the benefit of a play.

Our Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Number of tracks: 12

Running time: 51:33

Released on: Boom Chang Records

Release date: 15th January 2021

Formats: CD/DL

To purchase: https://thequestionnaires.bandcamp.com