‘Northern Common’ debut album from Spoil The Dance – you feel the presence of the band(June 21, 2015)
For a debut album, there’s lots to commend ‘Northern Common’ from Spoil The Dance … through it’s twelve tracks chosen to suit their delivery. Although it’s clear there’s some distance to travel, this is an album of potential, for if the folk gods smile down on this band there should be more to follow. You could call it ‘simple’ but that’s no criticism, for whenyou feel the presence of the band through the music then what it lacks in refinement it offers in involvement. This is more like a ‘local live act in your living room’ than anything else.
They delve into their repertoire with fine versions of ‘Gloomy Winter’s Now Away’, Dave Whyte’s version of Duncan Campbell Scott’s poem ‘The Sailor’s Sweetheart’ and a creditable set of flute-led tunes ‘MacLeod’s Farewell/ Ornette’s Trip to Belfast’. There’s little doubt that Gaynor Brook’s vocals come into their own with songs like ‘Donal Óg’ (Young Donald) and the medieval ‘Maiden in the Moor Lay’ with Sally Gay’s flutes adding an appropriately haunting quality, while strings from Charlie Smallwood and Steve Brook lay down a cleanly woven framework. More tune sets - ‘Look At September, Look At October/ Tommy Randell’s’ and ‘Paddy Taylor’s/ Peter O’Bryne’s Fancy/ Whelan’s’ clearly included to break up the album, sometimes reveal the limitations of the instrument line up, however, when they concentrate on the likes of ‘Yorkshire Song’ they hit the spot.
Sheffield based Spoil The Dance is Sally Gay (flutes) Steve Brook (guitar, bouzouki) Gaynor Brook (vocals) and Charlie Smallwood (mandolin, mandola, guitar).
Review: Charlie Elland