‘Life has Not Finished With Me Yet’ from Piano Magic(June 15, 2012)
“Nope that’s definitely not folk music.” Fairly forthright statement that, given the increasingly wide latitude given to the genre – especially with the development of dark or psych folk, which includes much of what appears here. Folk or not, if you have the slightest of leanings to the darker side of eerie or strange folk then ‘Life has Not Finished With Me Yet’ from Piano Magic could fit, albeit obliquely, into many world views of folk.
Although I will readily accept that many of the band’s outpourings (and I use the term band loosely) are about as far from any definition of folk as one could get, their latest offering throws up a distinct psych folk feel with more layers of darkness and strangeness than you could desire. Any review on this site demands that there is a soupcon of folk in there somewhere and indeed there is a vaporous, ethereal, acoustic feel to this album that drives Piano Magic closer to folk than ever before.
From the undiminished angst of ‘Judas’ through the synth-swaddled faintly wavering vocals of ‘Sing Something’ to the eerie warnings implicit in ‘Jar of Echoes’ with its ominous keyboards and phantom voices, this album demands scrutiny. The eponymous ‘Life has Not Finished With Me Yet’ is a darkly haunting chant with hypnotic bas and percussion, that sets out the endless searching for some sort of meaning to dealing with the vagaries that life throws out.Equally thought provoking and no less disturbing is ‘The Way We Treat The Animals’ with itspulsing throb matched to your heartbeat.
With its ever-evolving, collective heritage, the band's current line-up is Franck Alba (guitars, bass, voice, music box) Glen Johnson (voice, programming, guitars, percussion, upright piano) Angèle David-Guillou (voice, keyboards, dulcimer, guitar, piano, glockenspiel) Alasdair Steer (bass) and Jerome Tcherneyan (drums, percussion, keyboards, bass).
Reviewer: Tim Carroll