‘The Wife of Urban Law’ from Gigspanner - exudes improvisation and originality(October 28, 2017)
Being referred to as a long-time protagonist of folk rock implies someone that’s ‘been around a long time’, well that much is true of Peter Knight, although his band Gigspanner is not so long in the proverbial tooth. However, what’s also true is that Knight’s music continues to evolve. Most certainly, folk remains the cornerstone as does a healthy respect for tradition but that doesn’t imply stasis, the latest Gigspanner album explores folk from the perspective of progression, experimentation.
The latest studio album from Gigspanner, ‘The Wife of Urban Law’, releases 31 October and is both expansive and progressive. Innovation abounds as does enlightened exploration. Opening with a hand drum-driven instrumental, ‘Urban’s Reel’ brim-full with jazzy inflection, they move to an inspired version of ‘Spencer The Rover’, which I’m willing to bet is like nothing you’ve hear before. The emphasis of this album is the reworking of traditional songs into something different ... it delivers ‘Green Gravel’ in an entirely strange yet beguiling format, the same can be said of ‘Peggy And The Soldier’ and ‘Bold Riley’, both in turn given an innovative edge and ‘breathed on’ in a unique style.
The rush of originality offers extroverted and beguiling instrumentals ...‘Lament For The Life Of Urban Law’ fuses fiddle, low drone and percussion to create an ominous journey, while ‘The Blackbird’ exudes improvisation and originality. ‘Penny The Hero’ takes on a distinctly African texture before the album ends with ‘Rocking The Cradle’, another fine example of Gigspanner taking tradition into realms it never thought to inhabit.
Review: Tim Carroll