back the Tide" Reviews
The Hottentots are
a duo consisting of Carl Cleves, acoustic guitarist/vocalist and
Parissa Bouas, lead vocalist/percussionist. They have been recording
and performing throughout the world since the early 90's. Turn
Back The Tide is their 4th recording, I believe and a follow-up
to the excellent Graceful which was reviewed a couple of years
ago when Diaspora was a fishwrapper.
I'm not sure if the
Hottentots are really world music, whatever that terms means.
Not that it matters. They evince a completely personal, quirky
folksy sound that is immediately identifiable. It is an Australian
sound that generously embraces the sounds and rhythms of the world's
music to create a beguiling yet warmly accessible tapestry.
The opening track Party
At My House is a very good example of their modus operandi, a
jumpy little number where swing, pop, folk, African and Latin
elements flow in and out without disturbing the good-natured momentum.
11 of the 12 songs are original compositions and they cover a
broad expanse of moods, melodies and tempos within the Hottentot
parameters ... blues, Gaelic, Brazilian, blues, African, reggae
whatever ... all disarmingly presented in a direct yet multi-layered
As always Parissa proves
she is a singer with few equals in this country. Try
to imagine anyone else tackling the Cesaria Evora masterpiece
Sodade, the only cover here, and pulling it off in such a beautifully
soulful fashion without sounding imitative. One thing I really
love about the Hottentots music is its complete lack of pretence
and trendiness. And the lyrics address real issues from a personal
and political viewpoint ... another corporate sin.
The contributions from
the supporting musicians provide apt commentary in a multitude
of contexts be it bluesy harmonica, one drop reggae beat, shimmering
violin or Carl's artful guitar playing, but they're superbly subordinated
to the songs. As a result Turn Back The Tide represents most closely
the duo's infectious sound and is highly recommended.
Jasituowicz in DIASPORA World Beat 2005
Byron Bay duo The Hottentots
have built a reputation for themselves around Australia with a
classy blend of original music blending a variety of global styles.
The latest release
from the Hottentots is varied, lively and political. The band
treat us to their customary energy-filled treatment of several
contemporary issues facing us today. The title sets the theme
- if we want to live in a better world we can do something to
bring it about, and it's up to us to make a start. A fine CD that
will please the Hottentots fans.
set of songs is typical of what live audiences have come to expect
from this accomplished duo. Turn Back the Tide is lively, polished
and full of very inviting journeys in song and music.
The material on Turn
Back the Tide shows the variety of genres the Hottentots are quite
comfortable with. More than a competent handling of styles Parissa
Bouas and Carl Cleves write through a wide range of musical cultures
but deliver evocative performances. The stories are great and
the playing masterful - even sensuous. They've involved a good
support cast of musicians in a sympathetic display of playing
in tight and well thought out arrangements. But this never distracts
from the essence of their work or the importance of the tale they’re
telling. It's always clear that the strength lies in the duo.
Standout tracks: (3)
The Bethlehem Bell Ringer and (12) The Coniston Massacre. They
show off Parrisa's wonderful ability to create a great vocal and
yet sell a challenging story. Other great tracks are (1) Party
at My house and Look Over Yonder. Fun and feel-good songs."
by Ian Paulin, April 2005
I first heard the Hottentots
in the mid 90's, through their award-winning debut album 'A Small
World'. One thing I've noticed about them over the years is they
seem to be getting better and better.
Their latest CD "Turn
back the Tide" does nothing but confirm this. This album touches
so many different musical styles that it seriously undersells
the music to simply label it as 'folk'. Essentially, this is acoustic
music - exceptionally well written music and lyrics, beautifully
arranged and superbly performed by Carl Cleves and Parissa Bouas.
They are joined by many fine musicians, such as Rory McLeod, Doug
de Vries and Peter Grayling but no track seems cluttered.
There is spaciousness
that makes for a fine listening. It's hard to find favourite tracks
on an album of this calibre but "The Bethlehem Bell Ringer" with
its heartfelt plea for peace and Parissa's sublime vocal on "I'll
Be with you Tonight" stand out. For pure energy and fun the opening
track "Party at my House" is a must. Anyone with an interest in
good acoustic music with an international flavour won't be disappointed.
I'd also strongly recommend their energetic and passionate live
performances for any budding performer."
Manskey, Australian Songwriter Sept 2004"
"This is the 4th album
from this prolific and multi-talented duo. A nicely produced 16
page booklet contains the lyrics and other credits for all the
songs. As with previous recordings, this CD contains a diverse
range of songs, covering many subjects from love to war, using
musical styles like folk, reggae, Latin, country and more. All
songs (except one) were written and performed by Parissa Bouas
and/or Carl Cleves. A small group of fine musicians provides sensitive
and musical backing to the singing and playing of the duo.
There are older and
new songs presented here and some that stand out are:
The title track "Turn back the tide" is an effective protest song
against war and ruthless power politics around the world with
a modern reggae sound. "I'll be with you tonight" is a gentle
swaying bitter-sweet love song, beautifully sung by Parissa; "Yellow
Land" is a comment about the scary spreading of our desserts and
the continuous loss of more vegetation; "A Resting Place" is a
touching song about the mysterious global homeless traveller/refugee/outcast
- or whatever he may be, forever looking for a place of rest and
peace. The already often heard (live) song "The Bethlehem Bell
Ringer"is one of the most successful and haunting songs on the
album ... "Oh Jesus, please help Palestine, turn all that
blood back into wine ...Please bring peace to Palestine ... "
a message that is now as potent and universally seemingly hopeless
and futile as ever.
Although some songs
are instantly more appealing than others there are no weak points
throughout. Because of the diversity of styles, arrangements,
tempi and rhythms, subjects and performances of songs, one never
loses interest in listening to the album (as I often do when too
many tracks are too similar in every way). Instead, the manifold
songs and sounds create a wonderfully textured quilt of beautiful
and meaningful songs."
Bajzek, Folk Alliance News 2004