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LORELEY - The Frozen North

LORELEY - The Frozen North
Private Label LRL001

Loreley is a folk based duo who originally met whilst studying at Reading University. Maddy Glenn and Simon James Chisholm musically gravitated towards each other through a shared interest in folk and traditional music. Their sound is expressive and experimental with an attempt to put a new twist on age old themes, with the result that this work is certainly not an easy listen. Personally, I found the somewhat strident vocals, exposed mandolin, interspersed invasive percussion and, at times, rocket like delivery mildly irritating. Listening to the CD it was as if I had been surrounded by musical midges that incessantly demand attention. Much of the work feels quite raw in its concept and delivery, giving the impression that it is unfinished which, of course, is to some Loreley’s strength and appeal. It is, after all, their sound - “traditional-medieval-punk-folk” as Steve Knightley puts it in their publicity material.

I find it hard to believe that their “award winning producer”, Brian Bedford (Artisan), would allow the tuning issues in The Blinky Set to be recorded onto the CD unless it was fully intentional. If nothing else, it certainly made me give the track my full attention; I was even personally tempted to join in by running my nails up and down a blackboard. The track that is the most arresting is a very interesting version of Reynardine, which for once is sung at a reasonable pace. This song and arrangement work in a symbiotic relationship that plays to Maddy’s strengths as a singer.

Love them or hate them, Loreley have certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons with this album. I would say the jury is out as to whether this, with their unique modern twist and interpretation, is the right direction or not.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 119 of The Living Tradition magazine.