Sons of Noel and Adrian is more than just a band. The group is filled with English folk’s undercover movers and shakers; whether through the Willkommen Collective, extensive touring, or the other bands in which its members take part, the Brighton twelve-piece has helped lift the scene to greater heights. While they may lack the name recognition of some of their new-folk friends (Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Alessi’s Ark, et cetera), they certainly produce folk music worthy of the attention.
Sophomore LP Knots may give them just that. While it’s not an immediately accessible album, it’s a beautiful, complex, and compelling work. The band plays with themes, creating layered and intense soundscapes; from the forceful beat and sighing strings of ‘Big Bad Bold’ to the orchestral thrumming of ‘The Yard’, Knots uses its textures to evoke something visceral. The album pulses hypnotically, each song rocking like a boat in the waves. Together with Jacob Richardson’s haunting growl, there’s something both utterly organic and otherworldly about its nine tracks. This duality is best captured in the towering ‘Come Run Fun Stella Baby Mother of the World’ – the song’s many sounds and styles eventually swirl into a furious cacophony.
Knots is an album worth taking the time to unravel. It’s cohesive and atmospheric, full of engaging passion and intensity. For all the talented artists in the new-folk scene, I’ve yet to hear a band sound anything like Sons of Noel and Adrian—and this offering is a confident showcase of that unique sound. It’s time for Brighton’s movers and shakers to take center stage.
Words: Katie Carroll