This is ‘alternative folk music’ clearly enough, if you want to call it something, but there are times when just for atmosphere that sounds like very much the wrong term to describe this album.
There’s actually an air of early nineties indie to it at times, although that’s possibly in the vocal, possibly in the actual song structures themselves. The style and emphasis of Johny Lamb’s voice add to that impression as well as just the timbre of it, but don’t ask me to pin it down any better than that though, because I don’t think I could. Songs like The Fishery do build and build like early Britpop though, which is a strange experience in the middle of what is ostensibly a folk album.
There’s none of this ‘modern folk’ stuff going on here, with electronics and archness and experimentalism. It’s a pretty direct approach to songwriting, and the songs aren’t afraid to launch into big, strongly emoted choruses. It has a really distinctive character actually, but again, I would perhaps struggle to clearly explain exactly why.
Nevertheless, I am really enjoying the unguarded emotionalism and straightforward arrangements of this album. I miss folk bands who use the accordion. Why don’t they use the fucking accordion anymore, eh? Because they all want to be in punk bands, or clever fuckers with samplers, that’s why. This record, for the most part, is a bit of guitar or banjo, accentuated with accordion or horns. It does break big on occasion though, with drums and howling guitar feedback, and there’s generally quite a harsh edge to the recording which fits these little outbursts very well, so maybe he does want to be in a punk band after all.
Method veers from the odd to the conventional, from the sparse to the rackety, and I still haven’t entirely figured out what to make of it. I know I like it though.
P.S.: I’ve categorised Thirty Pounds of Bone as a Scottish band, partly because of the label being from Glasgow and partly because of the fact that Lamb was raised in Shetland. He lives in the very deepest South now though, and wasn’t born up here, so it’s a bit false but erm… fuck it, we’re claiming him.
Thirty Pounds of Bone – Shallow Brown
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