Friday 7 July 2023

Revival/ Bellowhead (2014): Albums of my Life: an A-Z

  having recently discovered Bellowhead and trying to get into jogging. Like some miracle, I was able to run so much further fuelled by New York Girls and various other Bellohead jigs; it was then that I knew they were something special.

Bellowhead were a folk supergroup with eleven members playing all sorts of instruments from fiddles, melodeon, bagpipes, tuba, saxophone and trumpet. They split in 2016 and reformed for a tour in 2022 despite the sudden death of beloved band member, Paul Sartin, in September 2022.

 'The palette has expanded', said Jon Boden of this album. And from the moment the drums kick in on Let Her Run, it feels like you're in for such a ride! There's a real sense of energy and power to the sea shanties on this album with Boden at the helm. There's also a fair bit of a foray into other genres-- such as the amazingly cinematic, sci-fi extravagansa that is Moon Kittens (based on an obscure and absurdist nursery rhyme). The song feels dark and stirring and magnificent. It feels like the beautiful melody of one who has finally seen the light and it has sent them mad.

Gosport Ladies is a pleasing contrast to the aforementioned, with its tongue-in-cheek lyrics and classic Bellowhead shanty feel. Hearing this song live was always a joy and at Wickham festival, I'm sure there were some of those ladies in the audience swinging their skirts about!

 As I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight begins, the album's palette is again refreshed with a delicious shade of encore after a West End show and the key changes bring the joy to an epidemic level. 

It occurred to me mid post-writing that I've already included a Bellowhead album ('Hedonism') in this series. Call it bad planning, or call it love. It feels poignant to celebrate this album as a dedication to the band and to Paul. This was their final album together that wasn't a hits or live album and it is a beautiful tapestry indeed.

1. Moon Kittens-- it has to be really! This is an other-worldy offering that provokes a lot of feelings of 'bigness', even if you're not sure why, or what the lyrics mean, you feel it. 

2. Jack Lintel-- an instrumental that builds into a wall of masterful sound at the three quarters mark. Pete Flood's drumming brings the whole piece together to mesmerising finale.

3. Greenwood Side-- a dark folk tale with a wonderful climax.

I'm playing car DJ on a longer journey. The album is a magnificent, joyful journey.

' And the moon is our love in her boudoir above
And the owl and the nightjar our bandAnd we've sent all the stars to fight in our warsWhile here in the wreckage we stand, my boys
While here in the wreckage we stand  (Moon Kittens)

... Turquoise blue with navy flecks: the colour of a beautiful and potentially tempestuous sea

What is your favourite album beginning with R?

No comments :

Post a Comment