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Gilmore and Roberts - A Problem Of Our Kind (GR Records)
Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts, five studio albums in, deliver that stripped back power folk rock that serves Seth Lakeman so well. At times this album pares back their sound a little and at other times it pushes it to big league. Gauntlet with a huge folk rock drum sound from Fred Claridge, Gilmore's electrifying squalling violin straight off Liege and Lief, bursts from the speakers. The duo balance light and dark well, offsetting emotional violin against tender duo vocals. The Philanthropist (Take It From Me) sets the story of Laurie Marsh to a beautiful guitar melody in Jamie's tender song, again the vocal harmonies are a delight. Ben Savage's Dobro accents superb fiddle and vocals from Katriona on Things You Left Behind. Fine words and another delicate melody make this a strong track on a consistently strong album. The Smile And The Fury is another light and shade anthemic track. Passages of gathering storm brooding atmospherics are balanced perfectly by furious flights of intensity. Lyrically its a folk ballard built around a photo of a calm faced woman facing down an EDL protestor at a rally. Quiet or furious if crackles like the best of Show Of Hands. Bone Cupboard built around a handclap rythmn and harmony vocals is one of the soulful surprises on the album. Spiritual Americana at its best, if this isn't snapped up by Rihanna Giddons its only because she hasn't heard it yet.
On The Line opens with one of those fleet fingered guitar lines that will have John Renbourn smiling wistfully on his cloud and playing along. An exercise in restraint the sublime guitar is joined by the duos beautiful vocals delivering a thoughtful lyric. The divine guitar and vocals continue on Average Joe, another Folk classic in the making that wouldn’t sound out of place in a set by Nine or Rising For The Moon era Fairport Convention. Listen out for the captivating knotty layers of vocals at the end of this track. Traditional From Night Till Morn lets Jamie Roberts dexterous bug atmospheric guitar breathe and shine on a superb instrumental with just little shimmers of other instruments the beauty of it leaves you with a smile.
Smart spot on duet vocals, fiery fiddle, captivating guitars and some surprising turns - this is an album to put on repeat and start again as soon as it finishes.