Album review: OYSTERBAND – Read The Sky

OYSTERBAND – Read The Sky

Running Man Records [Release date 04.03.22]

After an 8-year gap – as the band explain “hey, we were busy” – the Oysterband return with their twelfth studio album, (fourteen including their two collaborative albums with June Tabor).

Oysterband have been going strong since 1992 (from 1976 to 1992 they were the Oyster Band), yet for many may have flown under their musical radar. The core original trio of John Jones (melodeon, lead vocals), Alan Prosser (guitars, vocals) and Ian Telfer (violin, keyboard, vocals) are joined by Al Scott (bass, mandolin, vocals), Sean Randle (drums, percussion, vocals) and Adrian Oxaal (cello, electric guitar, vocals) – who is also a member of James.

‘The Corner of the Room’ is a tale of looking back at young love and wondering what happened to that person – did they realise their dreams? A rousing chorus makes this song a shoe-in for live sets. ‘Born Under The Same Stars’ and ‘Wonders Are Passing’ are another couple of instant on the ears tunes. The latter song again highlighting how the world is changing rapidly and not for the better.

They certainly pack a punch on ‘The Time Is Now’, written for and released at the time of the COP 26 summit in Glasgow. “Ice turns to mud, the future slides away” – they get their message across by cutting to the chase. Indeed, there is no time for niceties now, action is what is required and this song is a powerful clarion call, with a solid rock backing it works perfectly. ‘My Son’ packs a powerful punch lyrically too.

Special mention to the album artwork as it is very distinctive and the digipak folds out beautifully.

Oysterband still have plenty to say that is relevant and we are lucky enough that they are still out there making music. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie





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