Amy Duncan - Cycles of Life - fatea-magazine
It's funny what sometimes clicks inside a person that moves them into the world of songwriting. For Amy Duncan, the switch was becoming a mother back in 2000. Sure music had played an important part in her life up to that point, primarily as a classically trained double bassist.
Since her epiphany, she's released three self released albums with "Cycles Of Life" being her label debut. As the title implies, this is quite an insightful album, less obvious from the title is that this includes public events as well as more personal ones. "Everything Is Going To Be Alright", for example, focuses on the London riots.
One of the things you notice as you progress through the album, is the sense of observation contained in the lyric, the perspective of someone that was there or paid witness rather than someone inextricably caught up in them. There are occasions where phrases make you think that it's more of a defence mechanism with the writer trying to put herself on the outside as some sort of cathartic process.
That's not to say the album is entirely dark, far from it, there are plenty of songs spread across "The Cycle Of Life" to remind you lives are rarely truly linear in nature, once you step outside the actual aging process events come around from our past to influence the presence for good or ill, changing the direction of our future.
It achieves all this within a loose, acoustic pop setting, that drifts in and out towards folk and additionally does so with a good variety of pace that allows you to concentrate on the album and the songs from start to finish.