MUSIC REVIEW: Made Undone – The Brewer’s Daughter (2024)

The third album from The Brewer’s Daughter, ‘Made Undone’ hit the decks on 5th April and is a thing of beauty

It will come as no surprise that the album is a collection of songs that document the life of the artist, as all good folk music is. In this case we get themes of love, loss, longing and boats. Included are stories of what it’s like to be a childless, motherless woman in her thirties (Rhiannon’s words, not ours) navigating all the highs and lows that life throws at us.

We have been privileged to witness to growth of Brewer’s Daughter for around ten years now. They say practice makes perfect, and Rhiannon has been constantly practicing; her life is almost completely taken up by writing, performing and recording. Not just as the Brewer’s Daughter but for the best part of a decade she has been a member of Tarantism and for a brief period was a member of AOS3. When she’s not making music, she’s living a life interesting enough to sing about.

The album kicks off with ‘Single Berth’, a song about finally finding someone she is willing to share her precious space on her narrowboat with, an honor indeed.

‘The Wolf’ isn’t about beasties wandering around the forest, it is a celebration of having a wonderful life, with the wolf kept away from the door and always having something to write songs about.

The guitar is put down for ‘Waterway’s Lament’ and we get to hear Rhiannon’s voice in all its glory. She has a distinctive voice, I wouldn’t be able to put my finger on the accent were it not for the fact that I know she hails from the Northampton area. She has a dark and slightly husky sound to her voice that is just made for singing. This particular song reflect on the decline of the once extensive canal system in the UK – although in recent years many have taken to a life on The Cut as an alternative to bricks an mortar, or indeed Van Life. Rhiannon being one of them.

‘Kitten’ reflects on motherhood, parenthood and womanhood; ‘Low November Sun’ transports us to a place on the side of the canal when the seasons are changing and an appreciation of living close to nature.

Side 2 takes us on a journey through family roots as Rhiannon gives nod to her Ukrainian heritage by including a translation from the Ukrainian national anthem in Travellers’ Heart which blends into the following track penned by Magnus Martin in which he incorporates a Ukrainian folk tune melody, Rhiannon’s voice and voices of Ukrainian women to create a modern day doomscape showing an ancient culture diminished by warfare.

This is followed by a playful melancholic instrumental dance of Ukrainian origin ‘Frailach’ in order to acknowledge, celebrate and preserve Ukrainian culture. The following track ‘Hazel’ shows the other side of Rhiannon’s heritage which depicts a British couple serving in far-flung destinations working in communications during the second world war. The album then ends with a modern, classical, instrumental piece based on a musical theme from the second track ‘The Wolf’.

The combination of the maturing and development of Rhiannon’s song writing and playing skills, her experiences on land an water, and the support from her friends make this a beautifully crafted work. Magnus Martin of Tarantism, (and Hawkwind), steps in to occasionally add a layer or two when necessary, but not enough to overshadow Rhiannon. It is a sound that can only be achieved by two friends that have played together many times and know how each other thinks. Silas Martin, yes, Magnus’ boy, steps up to the plate to make sure the production is of a quality that makes this album shine the way it deserves to. he is going to be a name to watch out for in the future and is already gaining a bit of a reputation.

And to cap it off it comes in truly beautiful packaging.

From the press release

The fact that throughout the cold, quiet months this team of creatives have worked tirelessly with no outside income goes to show how genuine this album really is. This work is made for the sake of creating something beautiful. Being completely free and independent meant that The Brewer’s Daughter has clearly made no compromise. With a range of stories and subject matter, Rhiannon is not afraid to bare her hopes and fears, whilst she unapologetically tells us How It Is.

We couldn’t have put it better.

I have been sat on this release for a few months now, trying to find the words to do it justice. In a hectic world it is sometimes difficult to find the time and absorb a piece of music like this. As fate would have it, I recently found mysslf going on a solo walk along a canal, admiring how the Boaties have turned their floating hulls into homes, watching the slow pace of life of travelling via a set of locks, and watching winter turn into spring around me. Just me, my camera and my headphones. And suddenly this album made glorious sense. the perfect soundtrack to my walk. I thoroughly recommend finding your own space, away from the madding crowd, to thoroughly absorb this masterpiece.