September 13, 2007
The Western Lands
8 / 10 Hey, let’s all get into folk and wear flowers in our hair and drink real ale and learn to play the hurdy-gurdy! Actually, no, let’s not, says Nick Talbot, the man behind Bristol’s Gravenhurst. Talbot knows his folk; those rustic campfire arpeggios, those heart-rending tales of tests and travails. It’s just he prefers to present them with a guitar wrapped in a mist of feedback and a voice as icy and mysterious as a Highland loch. ‘She Dances’ is gloom most epic, a hail of tumbling piano and rumbling guitars, while a cover of Fairport Convention’s ‘Farewell, Farewell’ comes on like Kevin Shields scoring a Scottish warrior’s funeral. A masterpiece of rural gloom, ‘The Western Lands’ is Bill Oddie hanging from a great oak, a Tales From The Riverbank where everyone drowns. Notice it now, or wait until people start hailing it as a lost classic in a decade’s time.
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