Cut it Down, Count the Rings – Copper Viper (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

It’s hard to believe that this level of harmonised vocals can be reached on a debut release, this standard normally takes years of practice, repetition and, of course, complimentary vocal tones to use as a foundation. But what London folk group Copper Viper (made up of Duncan Menzies and Robin Joel Sangster) have achieved in their short time together is nothing short of astounding.

Having met in 2016 and having played their first show together in 2017 the band have quickly established a sound that is a combination of British and Celtic folk and American mountain music, but throw in a dash of Gypsy jazz and those vocals and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect, but it’s no good having a good sound if you can’t put that to good songs and this is where ‘Cut it Down, Count the Rings’ really succeeds.

We have tempo changes on ‘Bad Desires’, that Gypsy jazz feel on ‘Amber Light’ and ‘All in One’ manages an impressive musical build that reminds you that you’re in safe hands, these fellas know how to construct a song and deliver it.

Flitting from thoughtful, intricate pieces like ‘Under the Bower’, ‘Howl’ and ‘Unseen’ to thigh slappers like opening track ‘Bad Desires’ and ‘Hung Up Alone’, the small musical sound that such few instruments provide can sound vast, comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel will no doubt come to mind – and rightly so. It’s a fine album in anyone’s book, but as a debut, it’s well worth a listen.

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