[sic] Magazine

Hollie Kenniff – The Gathering Dawn

The stars aligned for me on The Gathering Dawn. A couple of days ago I read a Tweet from Keith Kenniff (Helios) saying how proud he was of his wife Hollie’s first solo ambient album. I hadn’t been aware of it. ‘Sounds interesting’, I thought. ‘Check that out when I get home’. Quite randomly the very first thing I saw that evening was the gorgeous sleeve cover art (above) by n5MD founder Mike Cadoo. ‘That looks beautiful……better check that out too, etc’.

You can guess the rest. Of course it’s the same album. Yes, The Gathering Dawn is the debut solo work of Hollie Kenniff, who is probably best known for her work with husband Keith in the band Mint Julep. Here, rather than indie, Hollie delves into the world of ambient music. The effect is really quite lovely. It’s as though somebody took the segues from This Mortal Coil and made an entire album out of those fleeting transitions. Cool synth lines ebb and flow like the gentlest of glacial waters while saturated guitars flicker off the surface like light. Behind it all is Hollies own breathy vocal, cooing and sighing like some distant angel or siren. Whichever deity she turns out to be, I’m seduced.

It’s been nice knowing you all.

Notable highlights here include the title track and ‘Field Edge’, which sounds like the Mogwai/Elizabeth Fraser collaboration we never got. I could easily picture Hollie moving into dreampop on the strength of these. The whole album runs in at 41 minutes and is very accessible despite its ethereal nature. No beats here. Occasional bass gives this record some semblance of percussive punctuation. For the most part The Gathering Dawn is billowing and amorphous. Even the water metaphors lose relevance as the album unfolds. The album ends in a gaseous, ephemeral cloud world with its closing duo of ‘Home Will Follow’ and ‘Always Elsewhere’.

Stars aligned and I’m glad my interest was piqued. This album isn’t just interesting, it’s beautiful. If anyone should feel proud I hope it is Hollie Kenniff herself. Lovely work.

The Gathering Dawn released November 15th on limited edition 180gm pink vinyl and compact disc.