Album & Single Reviews

Published on October 12th, 2017 | by Mike Ainscoe

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Pilgrim’s Way: Stand & Deliver – album review

PILGRIM’S WAY

‘STAND & DELIVER’

Talking Cat Recordings

No real prizes for guessing, but for the unsure, the clues are in the title for the new album as one of our local bands releases a new album

The clues are also on the cover as Tom Kitching and Edwin Beasant are once again joined by the multi-instrumental talents of Jon Loomes and with Jude Rees replacing Lucy Wright. She brings her skills on woodwind and bagpipes to make up an impressive 50 instruments in use on the new record.

Not resting on the laurels of 2016’ ‘Red Diesel’, the quartet have come up with an interesting concept that doesn’t need both clues to work out the direction of the new set. 11 tracks all on the theme of highwaymen, a topic which perhaps not surprisingly  holds a prominent place amongst the English traditional song collections. All topped off, naturally, with a cover of the title track by eighties chart topper Adam Ant.

And although the collection has a consistent  lyrical theme, the musical direction is far from straightforward. A case of how many styles  can you spot in forty five minutes of highwayman themed songs.  While the tribal signature  of Ants’  ‘Stand & Deliver’ is applied to the opening ‘Caveat For Cutpurses’, the ‘Ant’ cover closes out the set in a  more  tongue in cheek arrangement.

Snaking Fairporty folk rock and west end musical theatre styles  mix with traditional folk arrangements plus a ambient space rock treatment to ‘Shoot Them All’ that evolves into a bizarre Madchester-ness and the long lost vocoder makes an appearance on ‘Turpin Hero’. If that’s not enough, ‘Gaol Song’ features what may well be folk music’s first use of the otamatone, an electronic singing tadpole from Japan.  Google it…..it’s not what it may seem.

The doomy blues of ‘Saucy Bold Robber’ veers wildly into avant garde (ish, as most things are) experimentation on ‘Gaol Song’ and a more traditional, mainly unaccompanied ‘Elms Of Tyburn’ that matches the sobriety of a death on the gallows.

However, what works best are the treatments which rely on a tried and trusted folk rocking arrangement. ‘Ibsen, Gibson, Johnson’ and ‘Robin Hood & The Bishop’ is a lively rocking jig with plenty of folky derry-derry-downs.  But for a highlight, hang on for ‘Adieu, Adieu’ – for anyone used to hearing of seeing Eliza Carty’s bucking version take the song into new territories, prepare for a much more dignified and regal version. Piano and strings lend what’s rightly referred to as a shimmering version from Mr Beasant.

The title track is an almost essential part of the collection, despite its lack of folk-y legitimacy, which may go some way to explaining why  it doesn’t quite work. Nonetheless, it fits comfortably in the framework and in manner in which it’s performed; full of gusto and with tongue in cheekiness. Just keep an eye out  for a resurgence of cutthroats under Stockport Viaduct.

The Pilgrim’s Way website is here

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About the Author

Mike's mellowed in his old age, discovering the delights of traditional folk and acoustic music and the constant stream of new music coming through his passion as a gig-goer, music photographer and writer. With favourite artists and favourite songs which change daily, even hourly, he adds another spoke to the Sonic Bandwagon wheel of fortune.



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