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MAWKIN - Down Among The Dead Men 

MAWKIN - Down Among The Dead Men 
Good Form Records MKN005 

For a bunch of relatively young men, Mawkin have crammed a good deal of variety into their career so far. There was their collaboration with the West Country singer, Jim Causley, for instance, their touring and subbing with Bellowhead, and all manner of stylistic experimentation on their own account. Their latest album shows a similar aversion to being tied down in one genre.

Brothers James and David Delarre still scour Cecil Sharp House for music into which they can breathe new life, but this must surely be the first time they have name-checked the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as an influence. It could all be a bit of a mish-mash, but, in fact, it all hangs together rather wonderfully, making this one of the most stimulating releases of the year.

This CD was financed through crowd-funding, which not only paid the bills, but also, one suspects, opened it up to other influences. Their general aim in terms of sound is the folk-rock they grew up with, cranked up with plenty of amplification and a large dash of what they call “Essex-boy energy”. Nowhere is this carried off with more aplomb than in the opening track, Midnight Ranger, with its sub-text of rural mischief and something more menacing. Along with other tracks, this has plenty of points of reference to a repertoire that will be familiar to many. Mawkin's re-working of it is potent stuff.

The title track, by the way, refers to the empty bottles that accumulate under the table during a really good session. This is that session.

Dave Hadfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.