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Private Label TBGCD002 

Seven original songs, one traditional and one by Michelle Shocked on this second album by the Northumbrian duo (the BGs?), following a more traditionally-orientated debut recording.

This is an album operating on the quiet, acoustic side of the English contemporary scene. The brothers probably encourage the media’s past comparisons with the Incredible String Band insofar as they refer to themselves as “mystically-minded troubadours” on their website. I’m not sure that comparison tells you a great deal about the music, the strongest aspect of which is surely the fine Everly Brothers-style harmony singing.

Much of the material has a distinctly poetic quality, edging in the direction of a rather elaborate romanticism at times. There is, however, a slightly harder edge to some of the duo’s work; the main evidence for this is Tina’s Song, a number about an anti-fracking protest. This song has a much more direct lyrical style and is also remarkable for running to 14 verses (what does it say about modern concentration spans that such length seems unusual?).

It will be interesting to see whether the duo continue down the more poetical (or perhaps the political) route or whether a stronger link to traditional music, and particularly that of their native Northumbria, might reassert itself in future.

Paul Mansfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.