‘Five Songs’ from Crumbling Ghost - thrashing folk edge that cuts through the air like a buzz-saw

(January 19, 2016)

Opening with ripping guitar chords, ‘Five Songs’ from Crumbling Ghost lays down a distinctive marker on the darker side of folk. To avoid any slight chance of ambiguity, the band severally describes their five songs from crumbling ghostsound as: ‘doom folk, hardcore punk, indie folk’... well it’s all of that, with a thrashing folk edge that cuts through the air like a buzz-saw.

Using their own words, Crumbling Ghost confirm their songs “travel around sorrowful histories from the sinister side of British folk history and music.” Along the way from Crumbling Ghost take folk by the scruff of the neck and drag it into a maelstrom of searing guitars, frequent fuzz-pedals, a barrage of bass lines and crashing drums ... folk rock from the heavy side.

Kicking off with the pain of lost love ‘Are You Going To Leave Me’ roars in for your attention before their take on the much-sung and variously-versed ‘Swansea Town’ delivers its ‘love lost in battle’ and ‘does he return or is he a ghost?’ story, with an aggressive edge that fits its doleful tale. The band’s version of ‘Omie Wise’ takes the American murder-ballad into their eccentric world, continuing the strings-and-skins onslaught with guitar and drums ripping across potent vocals. The ten-minute ‘Lose And Get Something Good’ opens with a drum-driven pulse ahead of the guitars, restrained at first, the familiar Crumbling Ghost treatment arrives ... unfortunately this time taking the distortion a touch too far with its sheets of sound. By contrast the closing instrumental ‘Maajun’ provides a whirling-dervish of a finish with just as much presence proving less fuzz pedal equals more.

Although clearly not for everyone in the folk universe, ‘Five Songs’ from Crumbling Ghost definitely has a place in the folk cosmosCrumbling Ghost are Katie Harnett (vocals) John Mosley (guitar, vocals) Donny Hopkins (guitar) and Ruth O'Loughlin (bass) Matt Atkins (drums). ‘Five Songs’ is self-financed and released through Donny Hopkin's Withered Hand Records label. 

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Review: Tim Carroll

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