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SOLARFERENCE - Locks And Bolts

SOLARFERENCE - Locks And Bolts
Private Label

Folktronica is a word that will set alarm bells ringing for a lot of folk enthusiasts. At the bottom end of the scale it can be a warning of mediocre performances, cluttered up with distracting nurdling. That is not the case with Nick Janaway and Sarah Owen, both of whom are really excellent singers. That raises the question of whether they really need quite as much going on in the background as there is on this album.

Sometimes it works admirably, adding to the atmosphere of a song - beyond what the words and tune can achieve. That is true of their blending of I'll Make My Love A Garland and Sylvie, where the computer-driven rhythms hold the whole thing together. Another success is One More Day, a very different approach to a hugely popular song.

There are other times when you read the aural bill of fare and think that it is impossible to resist the urge to take the mick. An example: “A Tibetan singing bowl, a musical saw played percussively with a soft beater, the laptop contorting into sounds reminiscent of distant, calling voices... Sellotape being ripped from the reel is also brought into play in this tale of violence or suppression.” That is all going on in Lucy Wan, a song which needs a bowl, a saw and some sellotape like it needs a full orchestra. Besides, I think the sellotape was out of tune at one stage.

In summary, one to enjoy, but possibly with tongue in cheek at times.

Dave Hadfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 115 of The Living Tradition magazine.