Dr Faustus


It’s refreshing to see this outfit eschew any “fusion” approach in an attempt to make English traditional music relevant to the 21 st century, relying instead on the inherent strengths within the music. The result of focusing on the music’s own merits, yet in such a way that renders it fresh and refurbished make it ten times more relevant than if it had been forced into some musical shotgun marriage with jazz, rock, or some other genre.

The bands successful approach distills down into different elements - intelligent and interesting musical arrangements that are devoid of gimmickry yet deliver some of the better known songs such as ‘T stands for Thomas’ and ‘Broomfield Wager’ in a way that makes the listener hear them afresh; complex vocal arrangements that enrich the textures of the pieces, and the confidence that comes from there being no weak link in the line-up as all are strong both instrumentally and vocally, and a repertoire that includes lesser known but arresting material that will be new to many, all tracks being delivered with drive and panache.

The lineup all have parallel existences as part of other illustrious outfits: -Tim van Eyken with Waterson/Carthy, Benji Kirkpatrick and Paul Sartin are with Bellowhead whilst Rob Harbron is part of the English Accoustic Collective.

As Dr Faustus, this is their second album, and they’ve delivered one of those delightful “slow burners” that deserve to be loved at leisure, its’many strengths and subtleties making it one that will bear repeated listenings as the listener progressively makes new discoveries right through its’ ten items.

Nice one (very).

Hector Christie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 62 of The Living Tradition magazine.