BELLOWHEAD – Broadside

Navigator Records/Proper Music (Released on 15th October)

 

 

 

 

One of the joys of reviewing is discovering bands and new music, of which this band are a prime example. I had read rave reviews about their debut album and have been hooked ever since, with their last album ‘Hedonism’ easily making my year end best of. That album also earned the band a silver disc in the UK and a top 60 album placing. So no pressure then Bellowhead… This new album takes a little while to gel but once it does you are in for a rollercoaster ride through folk, bawdy tales, disgusting pie songs and music that pleads to be played live.

Where to start? The opener ‘Byker Hill’ is a cracking tune (one of the few times they get the electric guitar out) whilst ‘Thousands Or More’ has a musical arrangement so uplifting you play it again and again. Although many of the band add vocals it is the lead vocals of Jon Boden that add that extra ingredient to a song like ‘Black Beetle Pies’. Just don’t try to make this one at home children… Also Pete Flood’s percussion which can take in anything from a coal scuttle to a frying pan! Sounds daft but added to the fiddle and brass you have an amazing sound.

‘Dockside Rant’ is a rollicking instrumental, a perfect song to get you up and raring to go. This will please folk purists whilst ‘The Wife Of Usher’s Well’ is a ghostly tale made even more eerie by the staccato vocal arrangements.

I did try to find one song to take the mark down if only to keep the band on their musical toes but alas I failed. So sit back and enjoy one of the best folk bands out there, as they have produced another Album of the Year contender.

*****

Jason Ritchie


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