August 11, 2013 - It Rock And Roll
 

Day: August 11, 2013

MOrotund actor, comedian and writer Matt Berry – late of The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, for starters – could be the James Mason of his generation, rolling in voiceover clover, were it not for a startling propensity to burst into adamant song. It came as little surprise, therefore, that Berry’s 2011 acid-folk album Witchazel was as accomplished as it was: but more than a few listeners were taken aback by its apparent sincerity, give or take the odd (very odd) lyric.
Kill The Wolf is arguably even more impressive than its precursor in this respect: a mandolin, woodwind and tremolo guitar-inflected sound picture of the brown downs, harvest fecundity, fire-lit rites and crow-black folklore of sweetly sinister old England. Accordingly, Gather Up and the enticingly melodious October Sun come across like refugees from the Wicker Man soundtrack: postcard depictions of beaming, ruddy-cheeked, field-tilling sons and daughters of toil, but with a darkly unknowable subtext. While Knock Knock and The Signs admittedly veer close to theatrical, declamatory pastiche, Solstice – which laudably endeavours to track the journey from the shortest to the longest day – is nine-and- a-half minutes of bona-fide neo-prog: a shimmering three-way between Camel, the Super Furries and David Gilmour.

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DFollow The Road comprises 11 songs that have their own ‘tour’ – from studios in Austin, New Orleans, London and Los Angeles, with some illustrious names in the production seat from John Porter, George Drakoulias, Chris Kimsey, Tim Palmer, Jamie Candiloro, Ghian Wright. Single and album title track Follow The Road is described as having “strains of psychedelia mixed into lush jangling guitars, and The Dunwells’ signature, epic five-part harmonies” which have earned them comparisons to Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons, Crowded House and America – a long way away from the Pudsey for the two Dunwell brothers, Joe and David, two cousins Johnny and Rob, and school friend Dave Hanson.

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THE DContinuing Britain’s 2010s fascination with Americana, five-piece Leeds outfit the Dunwells’ debut album, Blind Sighted Faith, is an unashamedly retro affair which harks back to the early West Coast rock of Eagles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Recorded in Willie Nelson’s Austin studio and produced by John Porter (Ryan Adams, Santana), its 11 tracks show little evidence of the band’s West Yorkshire roots, with only the rousing nu-folk of opener “I Could Be a King” and the title track, a shimmering U2-esque ode to perseverance, deviating from their classic rock intentions. Resolutely old-school it may be, particularly on the vintage blues of “Follow the Road” and the gospel-tinged ballad “Oh Lord,” but it’s a pastiche they mostly pull off with conviction. The band’s impressive five-part harmonies soar as effortlessly as Fleet Foxes’ on the lovelorn acoustics of “Only Me,” “Hand That Feeds” is an infectious slice of soul-rock which combines swirling psychedelic organs with foot-stomping Motown beats, and the melodic AOR of “Goodnight Mr City” could quite easily have been a leftover from Hotel California. The slower numbers drift into mediocrity, and while there’s little here that can’t be found among a thousand other less fortunate pub rock bands, the band’s obvious fondness for the ’70s folk-rock era ensures Blind Sighted Faith is largely an authentic and affectionate homage.

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