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Peter Hollens

Black Is the Colour (Of My True Love's Hair) - Single (2014)


Review By Catherine Lewis

March 20, 2015

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Catherine Lewis

Black Is the Colour (Of My True Love's Hair) has always been a dark and smoldering folk song. But under the care of Peter Hollens and Avi Kaplan — both individually and as a duet — the song becomes even more haunting and mysterious, intensified by a measured pace and a smoky video.

On the surface, the song's formula isn't that surprising: a verse with Peter on the lead, then a verse with Avi up front, then a verse with the two singing together. But the execution is where the goosebumps kick in: Peter's voice is saturated with emotion, Avi's solo register drops lower and lower towards the center of the earth, and then the two harmonize together as if they were one voice, matching each build and draw with unified precision.

By now, both of these guys have a reputation for flawless delivery, so my high marks and gushing praise are no shock. But what makes Black Is the Colour such a compelling listen is that this pair embraces the song's simplicity: slow, simple, and passionate. It's enough to make this recording both instantly memorable and emotionally complex. "Less is more" is an old cliché, but it actually serves this pair quite well.

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