Category: Reviews

Album | Watchhouse – Watchhouse

When a band changes its name there’s always the feeling they’re desperate for a new start, yet nothing could be farther from the truth for Watchhouse. As Mandolin Orange they had managed to create a respected body of work, on that…

Album | Laura Stevenson – Laura Stevenson

Following up 2019’s breakthrough The Big Freeze, Stevenson’s sixth studio album finds her facing up to a friend’s unspecified but “absolutely unthinkable” trauma, against the backdrop of first-time motherhood and the wild emotions of a couple of years like no…

Book | Beans On Toast – Foolhardy Folk Tales

One of the last gigs I went to pre-lockdown, in November 2019, was the magnificent Holy Moly and the Crackers in York. On the merchandise table afterwards, alongside the standard array of CDs and T-shirts, was a solitary copy of…

Album | Josienne Clarke – A Small Unknowable Thing

Josienne Clarke has fought to be given the credit her work has deserved for years. It’s been exhausting and she admits that she had to be explicit in explaining how much her name and talent warranted recognition, as if she…

Album | Villagers – Fever Dreams

Conor O’Brien’s gradual inching from his acoustic folk roots since 2010’s Mercury-nominated debut Becoming A Jackal is fully realised in his kaleidoscopic fifth studio album.  Recorded with a band pre-pandemic, it’s intriguing to wonder how much Fever Dreams morphed into its lysergic final shapes…

Box set | Laura Nyro – American Dreamer

“I don’t accept any limitations as a writer,” Laura Nyro said and no words have ever been truer, with the proof on display in the eight-disc collection of American Dreamer. The four albums she released from 1967 to 1970, (More Than a New Discovery, Eli…

Album | Dot Allison – Heart-Shaped Scars

Dot Allison will always be identified with the band that initially launched her career, One Dove, whose Andy Weatherall-produced album Morning Dove White became a downbeat electronic classic. Other collaborations include Kevin Shields, Hal David, Paul Weller, Pete Doherty and…

Album | LUMP – Animal

In a world that often expects musicians to release the same record over and over again, LUMP are explorers on a mission forcing them through unexplored pathways, and Animal suggests that there is plenty of searching still left to be done. Initially…

EP | Shirley Collins – Crowlink

Folk music constantly reinvents itself, turning something old into something new and unheard. Sometimes like the black browed Albatross that occasionally visits the cliffs at Flamborough, a strange sighting occurs and we are gifted a very rare and unusual spectacle.…

Album | Wise John – A Wonderful World

Wise John was already living through a personal dystopia during the opening thrushes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bed-ridden by a chronic illness in late 2019, a series of unfortunate events came to follow—including knocking his front teeth out, being dumped…