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UFQ - The Escape

UFQ - The Escape
SAE Records SAECD12

This latest Urban Folk Quartet release, following two ‘live in the studio’ recordings and two live concert performances captured on disk, is a more deliberately studio crafted work, with separately tracked bass lines and supplementary strings, but characteristically rich and effervescent with sparkling arrangements of almost dizzying rhythmic appeal!

Now comprising Joe Broughton (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass), Paloma Trigás (fiddle, vocals), Tom Chapman (cajón and cymbals, percussion, vocals) and new recruit (replacing Frank Moon) Dan Walsh (banjo, guitar, vocals), the material here includes four songs (two trad. American folk pieces sung by Dan, a beautiful rendition of The Snows They Melt The Soonest sung by Tom, and Paloma’s delightful expression, in Spanish, of Cuban travellers’ tale Resiste) and six instrumental set pieces. All are collectively arranged in various combinations evincing their acute adventurousness and experience as an exhilarating ensemble.

Suffused with intricate sequencing of syncopated lines (redolent of progressive jazz rock/funk and other World music sources) with pin tight accuracy, their dynamic duetting and movement provide manifest means of exploring the wide potentialities of their instrumentation in terms of rhythm and melody, both in solo voice and interwoven in layered combinations and textural timbre. Replacing the live octave pedal with some particularly deftly delivered bass parts is especially beneficial.

Often edge-of-the-chair in its derring-do and energetically edgy musical brinkmanship, but always accessible, I could sense the breadth of the irrepressible Broughton smile as they skilfully surged through yet another successful sequence of almost incomprehensibly intricate changes in realising their heady escapade!

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 109 of The Living Tradition magazine.