If you haven’t come across Canterbury’s folky psychedelic prog rockers Syd Arthur yet, then you should check out their new single Dorothy. Taken from their debut album On An On which The Pigeon Note reviewed and loved here. For a self-release On An On got 4 stars across the board and the band have been unofficially picked up by Communion who have them holed up in the studio, so watch tihs space.
Moulettes boast members such as Ted Dwane (now of Mumford and Sons) and their violinist Georgina Leach has recently performed and recorded with Seasick Steve and John Paul Jones. This wealth of talent makes Moulettes a force to be reckoned with, throw in some guests like banjo player Matt Menefee of Cadillac Sky and acclaimed folk-blues songstress Liz Green and Moulettes have got themselves an album bursting with organic energy.
Several Moulettes have been playing with eachother for over a decade, demonstrated by the precision with which each instrument shares the song space with another – intertwining in complex ways yet never faltering or clashing. Individually and together Moulettes create the most diverse and magical sounds, some that you feel you have never heard before.
Sing Unto Me opens the album with the determination of a ship’s crew hurriedly preparing their vessel for sail. Commanding harmonies and stomping instruments spur the song on. Brooding strings interupt the momentum at 2:30, they simultaneously grind, frolick and scrape as if mimicking the of the dangers of the sea.
The tracks in The Bear’s Revenge are aptly named, giving the listener a small clue of what is to come. Take Country Joy, which is just what it says on the tin. A joyful country romp, returning Moulette Ted Dwane will no doubt feel at home pounding his double bass to this high speed track. The pace pauses briefly for a beautiful bridge section where vocals cascade over climbing strings. The Revenge of the Bear is as dramatic as you would expect when a large and wild mammal wreaks its vengeance. An instrumental, the track opens with the tip toes of the avenger about to pounce, as danger builds the siren-like sounds of a flute ring out. What ensues is a frenzied but somewhat seductive confrontation for victory.
The Moulettes’ open door policy in regards to musical collaboration and the past company of artists like Mystery Jets and Patrick Wolf at their Den of Inquity night at London’s 12 Bar Club, has no doubt contributed to Moulettes’ wide repertoire. Whilst folk forms the base of The Bear’s Revenge, Moulettes, like most modern folkists, blend in rock, classical and pop with ease. Uca’s dance is a quirky Florence + The Machine/Kate Bush- esque pop song and Some Who You Love provides the ballad, whose pained violin and lyrics portray love as ‘what’s lost and spent, impermanent’. Half-Remembered Song conjures up a lonely figure staggering along in a slightly inebriated manner, questioning decisions made and love lost. Lackadaisical whistling and autoharp give the track a continental feel.
Whilst The Bear’s Revenge is lryically average, this album is about the music, which manages to be exciting, dark, merry, intricate and beautifully simple, all at the same time. The Bear’s Revenge never tasted so sweet.