The Fragile

Fragile |?fraj?l; -?j?l|


  • (of an object) easily broken or damaged.
  • easily destroyed : you have a fragile grip on reality.
  • (of a person) not strong or sturdy; delicate and vulnerable.

The Fragile is a collection of stories all linked by a vulnerability, perhaps found in the story itself, the characters within the song, the musical arrangement or even a delicate vocal performance.  Belinda introduces the piano accordion to her palette of instruments, alongside piano, dampened piano and shared vocals, with Heidi taking on a greater share of the vocal duties this time around.  Their music defies easy description, crossing folk and classical boundaries with a hint of burlesque theatricality.  These beautifully unusual songs touch on everything from dark folk tales, cross-dressing historical figures, the global economy, right through to a song about the last polar bear.

Recorded mostly at their home in Golcar in September and October 2011, using their trademark Yamaha U3 upright piano, with vocals recorded in the cellar head!  Again, mixed and mastered by Neil Ferguson (Chumbawamba) who also recorded the string quartet, brass and diatonic accordion.

Guest performances by Jackie Oates, Andy Cutting, Jude Abbott, Cormac Byrne, Anna Esslemont, Sam Pegg, The Solo Players and London’s Diversity Choir.

Idiosyncratic strings arranged and directed by long time collaborator and friend, Melanie Purves.

The illustrations for The Fragile were created specially by Kate Aughey and inspired by the songs on the album.  The photographs of O’Hooley & Tidow standing in the sea, were taken by Casey Orr at Sandsend in Whitby.  The shoot actually took place in the water, with Casey and her assistants Conway & Young wearing bathing costumes.  We all got wet.

Read reviews of The Fragile here.