In Rob Young's fascinating encyclopedic book on British folk music 'Electric Eden', the author evocatively describes the music of the classical protagonists - Kate Bush, Nick Drake et al - as "Yearning for an intense communion with nature and the desire to reclaim a stolen innocence". The problem is that, despite a tidal wave of cravat wearing accordion squeezers commandeering a large chunk of popular music real estate in the last few years, very little of it has felt that authentic. Away from the contrived Dexy-isms of Mumford & Sons there are a few carrying the torch - Laura Marling being one - but genuine scions of Martin Carthy are in short supply.
The Melodic - a five piece from South London made up of Huw Williams, Rudi Schmidt, John Naldrett, Lydia Samuels and James McCandless - suffer from a slightly whiffy hipster bio which includes relocation from Brixton to LA and New York, then 6 months touring/busking to follow. They also make a point of the fact that 18 instruments were used in the making of 'Effra Parade', presumably because this has some kind of significance. There isn't a register of what they all are, but, by the sounds of it, there are harmonicas, pianos, accordions, violins and drum brushes in amongst what's described quixotically as a "Baroque line up".
In essence, folk music must exist as an anachronism, but its traditions in the preservation of stories in song and, by extension, language and culture are even more laudable now that history has been re-written by anyone with a computer. 'Effra Parade', to its credit, has something of those pastoral textures, recalling Tuung's Mother's Daughters and Other Stories despite lacking its hedgeway electronica.
Continue reading: The Melodic - Effra Parade Album Review
Folk four-piece The Melodic have released a cover version of Israeli singer Asaf Avidan's international hit 'One Day' complete with an evocative music video.
The video uses a low-quality style of filming as if it has been projected by an old fashioned movie projector. It was shot in Barcelona's Guadi Park and features a young male photographer sight-seeing before getting his camera stolen by a girl who he chases into a Venetian mask store to retrieve it. He photographs a variety of sights including a graffiti artist, a street performer and a violinist busker. The song itself is a wonderful folk twist on the original pop song, featuring both male and female vocals which almost invite a sing-a-long. While many cover artists make the mistake of over-embellishing on original classics, The Melodic goes the opposite way with a much more toned down and slightly monotonous edge to the unique track.
The band; who are Huw Williams, Rudi Schmidt, John Naldrett and Lydia Samuels; have also announced their Living Room Tour that will see them perform for their fans in their own front rooms as well as several other unusual locations such as a Belgravia mansion, a laundrette and castle turret - and it's all completely free of charge!
Continue: The Melodic - One Day
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.