Album of the Month
The prospect of an award from FolkWords is unlikely to ensure artists undying fame. It does however, recognise work that we consider outstanding and wave a flag for albums that we feel you should invest some of your hard earned beer tokens to acquire. We reflect on all the albums our reviewers cover each month and select an album to recognise as FolkWords 'Album of the Month’.
Previous album choices: 'Album of the Month Archive'
May 2017 - Album of the Month: ‘All We Have Is Now' - Elephant Sessions
Following and possibly surpassing something utterly different and ground-breaking is less than easy, especially when it includes the potential spectre of that ‘difficult second album’ lurking in the wings. With the follow up to their debut ‘The Elusive Highland Beauty’ ‘neo-trad quintet’, Elephant Sessions demonstrate that for them at least and their second album, ‘All We Have Is Now’ there are no such problems. Once again, these skilled, creative musicians mix their interpreted influences of traditional Highland roots with the rampant freedom of inventive rock and funk mixed with electronics to deliver an unrestrained essay of iridescence.
Possibly, this time they have moved further into their art perfecting the result into a cleaner and crisper, more together feel while still retaining that essential fearlessness to go where the desire takes them. The moment ‘Wet Field Day’ opens you’re back with the inimitable Elephant Sessions sound ... elaborate, elusive melodies soaring across a thumping funk foundation, from there they move into a softer reflective mood with ‘Lament For Lost Dignity’ ... still with that readily recognisable drive but this time slightly muted. A fuller sound returns with the wonderfully titled ‘Misty Badger’, ahead of the ethereal echoes of ‘Summer’ and ‘Fran’s’ that sweep you to somewhere mysterious and dreamlike, before they close with the high-energy intensity of ‘Doofer’.
I’ve observed before, their music has an elegance that becomes more evident the more you listen, the same definitely applies to ‘All We Have Is Now’, each time you listen something new and ear-catching makes itself felt, engaging and embracing your attention.
‘All We Have Is Now’ is played by Elephant Sessions: Euan Smillie (fiddle) Seth Tinsley (bass, synths) Alasdair Taylor (mandolin) Greg Barry (drums, percussion) and Mark Bruce (guitars) and features Laura Wilkie (violin) Andrew waite (piano accordion) Susan Applebe (cello) Andy may (keys) and Tamzene (vocal sample).