"Oyster Trails" opens this fascinating potpourri of new talent with Lauren Kinsella's ethereal vocals at times eerily channelling the late Sandy Denny. The darker "Somewhere" is an acid-tripped version of the Arlen and Harburg classic "Over the Rainbow" and is frenetic and astoundingly effective with Laura Jurd's scintillating trumpet to the fore. A dawn chorus appropriately accompanies the quieter "Aurora 5AM" begging the question, what is this music? Jazz, folk, rock, blues, it's none and all of this and more besides with Jurd's melancholic trumpet here redolent of Mark Charig's cornet on the classic King Crimson's track "Islands."
"Spiderton" picks up the pace, with a brassy jazz backing whereas "O Do Not Love Too Long," a characteristically idiosyncratic interpretation of the WB Yeats' poem, is sensitively executed. Laura Jurd's composition "Reflections On The Spiral" amply demonstrates just what a fine trumpeter she is and how the trumpet, along with Lauren Kinsella's vocals are unquestionably the two focal points of this eclectic band.
"Living in the Fast Lane" is out and out prog rock, highly original and benefitting from a sublime, heavy hook line. Catchy and memorable, this could easily qualify for a single release, albeit in a parallel universe populated by a more discerning audience. By contrast, the plangent "Intro (For Fathers)" is a harmonium-rich instrumental. "For Tom And Everything" is an emotionally-charged ballad and is followed by "Try To Turn Back" which here returns to an admixture of early Fairport Convention and trumpet with a smidgeon of psych rock thrown in for good measure, fading out into the final cut, the Seamus Heaney inspired "Valediction."
The entire album which was co-produced by the band and Polar Bear's Tom Herbert and Leafcutter John, is a highly original and satisfying affair, underpinned by complex arrangements, vital contributions by co-composers Alex Roth and Corrie Dick and which invites many repeated plays. An important, even a landmark debut recording.
Oyster Trails; Somewhere; Aurora 5am; Spiderton; O Do Not Love Too Long; Reflections On The Spiral; Living In The Fast Lane; Intro (For Fathers); For Tom And Everything; Try To Turn Back; Valediction.
Lauren Kinsella: vocals; Laura Jurd: trumpet, synthesizer, vocals; Alex Roth: guitar, effects, synthesizer, vocals; Corrie Dick: drums, percussion, harmonium, piano, vocals; Tom Herbert: bass (4), synthesizer (7).
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