Blacklands last album was called ‘Beware the Moon’. There’s not much to beware of here, unfortunately. Unless you happen to have a phobia of a hippy-zombie army, lurching across the horizon waving lentils and guitars, attempting to turn the clock back 40 years to a time when men could seriously wear flowers in their hair. I’m quite scared of that.
For all the competent musicianship and nice arrangements there’s little here that couldn’t have been recorded at any point since 1968. There seems little point going over the same ground covered by other people who did it better. Nick Drake, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkle, these guys clearly have an impressive and high-quality record collection – but I can pick my favourite bits of those artists out myself thanks.
Perhaps it’s a feather in cap of the current crop of quality musicians sweeping the country that there are people thinking: “Folk, that’s having a bit of a revival. String a couple of those chords together and give the EP a nice olde worlde sounding name. They’ll lap it up!” Perhaps.
Everything on the EP is eminently hummable but there’s no spark here, nothing you can hang your hat on and say “Yeah, Blacklands” about. If Blacklands were supporting a band I wanted to see, I’d turn up early to see them. I wouldn’t go out of my way…
Words: Paul Malloy