DALTA "The Silver Strand" silv001

An interesting debut by a serious new group. By 'serious' I mean, in particular, that they appear to attach great importance to the business of making music - rather than the fun of making music (unusual in a fledgling band). This band, though, are based in Lydiate, by Maghull - the 'People's Republic of Folk Fun' near Liverpool. So what happened? There are evil forces at work somewhere I suspect. The lyrics speak of dark times, farewells, insanity, love falling apart and mind control. The web site that the sleeve notes suggest you visit is particularly sinister, until you get used to the dark background and the mysterious images.

The greatest shame is that the unsettling words disguise some competent fiddling and harp playing. The instrumental tracks do have a certain charm, but mostly because they break up the morbidity of the vocal tracks. The fiddler that guests on this album is soon to become a full time band member and, hopefully the promise demonstrated by her contribution to the title track in particular will prove to drive the band in a more positive direction. Us folkies have enough to worry about with the murders in traditional ballads. We don't particularly want to be driven to Prozac via a contemporary route as well!

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 40 of The Living Tradition magazine.