Presented as ambassadors for the new wave of old English folk music, The Lords of Thyme commit their debut album to wax after making a gentle splash with the CD version last year. Pitching themselves between Nick Drake, Fairport Convention and The Byrds with a rich, full-band radio-friendly sound, this is winsome songwriting in the most traditional sense, and what could be more folky than that?
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It's about time that someone sounded like Pentangle and the Lords of Thyme are the latest minstrels to throw their hat into the ring. This debut album from the quartet is a rich and varied work that is ripe with influences from the 1970's golden age of British folk taking in Fairport Convention and Fotheringay. They veer from full band arrangements 'The Bird It Sang' to solo pieces 'Morning Came' that recall Bert Jansch's solo records.
The record is beautifully recorded with a warm textural sound that takes in organs, steel guitars and the ever present strum of the acoustic. It's musicianly, these guys can play. On 'Coming Down' this is a benefit as the band launch into the type of rhythms we saw on Ryley Walker's 'Primrose Green' but I'm finding the album just a little bit slick at times - a nagging worry that reaches a climax on the bluesy 'Freight Train to Rainham'. It's lacking the mysterious woodiness of the best examples of folk music and there's a distinct lack of 'wyrdness'. I almost feel I'd like the album better if I threw it in a ditch and left it to weather awhile. That's just me and my Mike and Lal Waterson fixations though. This is a confident and often strutting take on classic era folk sounds, very well executed.
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