Saturday, 29 September 2007

Folkin' Hell

Folk, bluegrass, rockabilly; these are words that would have my mother sniggering as she recalls stereotypical men with beards, strumming at a guitar and pretending they are Simon and Garfunkle! Very 70’s! But get ready to welcome in the new breed- The Mules, Noah and the Whale, Kitty Daisy and Lewis, The Woodsmen, Vincent Vincent and the Villains. All great bands combining different sounds- moving away from the classic “indie-pop-Razorlight-make-loads-of-money” formula and making music for the sake of music!
And wonderful music it is too; focus isn’t all concentrated on guitar riff solos and whether the lead singer is “fit” or not but instead on the musical ability of all involved. Violins, harmonicas, fiddles, banjos, guitar, drums, little bit of synth; there is a wealth of inspiration to draw on and an array of musical instruments to explore.
The type of music
Gypsy Kings and Kalico Queens would dance to around campfires whilst drinking copious amounts of rum or whiskey and enjoying the nuances of the sounds!
Bands like the Mystery Jets, Patrick Wolf and Larrikin Love have helped pave the way; rejecting soullessness and connecting with fans through their lyrics and obvious love for their day-jobs. The words aren’t focused on how drunk they got last night, how much they fancy that “bird” by the bar or how many drugs they took in one hour but instead following themes of freedom, love, pent up emotions and inspiration.
In all their tender years Kitty Daisy and Lewis are prime examples of how not following the crowd makes you infinitely cooler. Epitomising 40’s/50’s glamour and playing an assortment of instruments and with harmonica solos rather than guitar makes them unique and talented all in one go!
The Woodsmen
with their macabre and addictive music have all the qualities of a debauched pirate pillaging towns whilst stopping sometimes to make a bit of music and have a bit of a jig!
The Mules
take bits of everything and splice them together to create imagery and worlds that are subtle and vivid. “Rhino” has the makings of a great novel behind the lyrics of a 3 minuet song. Then there is Patrick Wolf who’s upcoming tour (!!!!!!!) promises Patrick with only a violin, harpsichord and piano for company. His orchestral nuances combined with an ever changing persona, David Bowie-esque vocals and optional glitter and magical song content leaves many a fan happy he isn't quitting touring as previously thought! A fore-runner in the weird and wonderful world of swapping a guitar for a fiddle his previously dark songs have been transformed into a glitterati world of Bluebells and Magic Positions!
Although it is a matter of taste, what is wonderful about all these bands is although they don’t seem to be trying to appeal to the masses or garnishing themselves with No1 spots and Brit Awards galore their music has an appeal that could just reach those obsessed with the Top 40 if only they gave it a chance to flourish. Music, it seems, isn’t all about the lyrical hook, perfect drum beat and pulsing rhythms but about subtleties and talent.
Jade xx

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