Popular Cycles is the rich, bold, authentic folk album from songwriting duo Busman's Holiday. Recreating folk with their own brand of kooky orchestral instrumentation and adventurous composition, the duo's third studio album brings a fun, charming and uplifting spirit to the genre. Available on Black Vinyl LP via the Joyful Noise label.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 20 October 2016
Busman's Holiday are a pair of brothers from Indiana. Not that you'd know they were brothers by looking at them. One looks like a cherubic supersized John Grant, the other Mackenzie Crook. Their music is the sort of thing that is so instantly enjoyable that you feel that they must be holding back something really awful just for that moment you commit to saying it's great.
Their songs sound like a really folky version of sometimes brilliant Seattle popsters the Long Winters. Lewis Rogers voice is a dead ringer for Long Winters main guy John Roderick, stretching and swooping all over these orchestrated songs. The boys started off as a kind of busking group but here the songs are slathered in delicious almost christmassy orchestration. It was recorded at Arcade Fire's Sonovox studio so let's take that bands earlier work as a reference point and strip it back of all it's pomp and add a quirky Van Dyke Parks-a-like twisting Americana and we are getting somewhere close.
The songs are brilliantly realised full of the sort of baroque orchestration not seen in anything since John Cale released 'Paris 1919'. They are whimsical without straying into sentimentality. Songs such as 'See the Rain' could be gloopy in others hands but this band have enough lyrical dexterity and oddness about them to pull it off. They are kind of old-timey. I imagine grandmas liking this but in these days of everything being so fucking rubbish why not just enjoy some nice music for a change? A lovely album.
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