I like hearing an album that tests the walls of the genre it sits in; it would be too easy to repeat and recycle the familiar tropes and would ultimately lead to a stagnation in the music. It’s much more interesting to push, blur and develop a sound than to rely on the previous ingredients that make a genre recognisable. Duo Plumhall (consisting of Michelle Plum and Nick Hall) have taken folk and added all manners of smart touches to support the poetic lyrics and already present musicianship. We hear sitar, synth and even the bird song of starlings underpinning various tracks and the end result is something far more powerful and atmospheric than it has any right to be.
Switching between lead vocals, the duo are able to keep things interesting from the first note to the final. We start with the moody ‘The Ghost of Noise’ before the metaphorical sun begins to rise with the poppy, catchy ‘City Starlings’ a throwback to the indie hits of the 1990’s that used to invade the charts. It’s by no means a lone shining light in the album, ‘Cruel Adventurers’, ‘Mary’, ‘South To Glory’, ‘Fire Next Time’ and ‘Dust Devil’ all have the steady beat to make all but the most stubborn toes tap.
The whole album is based on strong rhythm and powerful messages that might only appear within the lyrics on repeat listening. There are moments of heartbreak on the final track ‘Closing Down’ which is a fitting closing song as it acts as a reminder of the bands folk roots.
This is a triumph of an album, would suit as an introduction to the world of folk for those that are wanting to dip their toes into the music but not quite sure if they want to leave the rock and rhythm behind completely.
Search this out because it’s a little treasure.