Ward Thomas didn’t have to come up with a theme for their third album. As 24 year old females who have fought their own way to success and as sharp-eyed songwriters who have long looked outwards for inspiration, they tapped in to the zeitgeist without even trying.
Restless Minds, the follow-up to 2016’s chart-topping No.1 album Cartwheels, finds the Hampshire sisters on scorching form. Observational and opinionated, it documents their coming of age in an era of anxiety and the impact of social media on a generation for which ‘the truth’ has become a tenuous term. There are songs on the album which touch on women in the workplace and #MeToo, others explore mental health issues and a couple relate to their own relationship as twins growing up and growing apart.
Sonically, Restless Minds is every bit as bold. While Cartwheels saw Ward Thomas reach beyond the so-called UK country of From Where We Stand, the DIY debut they made in their teens, Restless Minds goes far further. Country influences still surface on some songs, less on others. Harmonies still play a large part, but both pushed themselves solo to adapt to punchier sounds.
The album was produced in London, partly with Martin Terefe (Shawn Mendes), partly with the fast-rising Brit Joe Rubel, who’s recent work you can hear across Ed Sheeran’s ÷ and Tom Grennan’s ‘Royal Highness’. Talking of Sheeran, his classically-trained elder brother Matt arranged some of the strings on the album.