FolkLaw and their second album ‘The Tales That They Tell’(October 11, 2012)
One fact is certain, wherever folk wanders on its ever-changing journey there will always be room for the high-energy passion and singular presence of premium-quality folk rock; especially when it comes chock full of acid-sharp observation and comment. And that’s what you get with FolkLaw and their second album ‘The Tales That They Tell’ a collection of self-penned songs (plus one trad) that impart some hard messages – rape of the forests, destruction of the land, false gods of celebrity, fighting oppression and the desire for a simpler life. Disparate messages maybe - but together they portray a longing for something better than we have - hankering back to what once was or appealing for what might be.
There’s powerful proclamation, naked aggression and wistful wondering in this music – emphasised by rasping vocals that move between beseeching and adamant. You only have to listen to the realised repugnance and implied resistance within ‘Leaves of Gold’ and the desperate loathing in ‘The Days That The Rains Came Down’ with its piercing guitar, to hear their impassioned calls to action. A fine example is the title track ‘The Tales That They Tell’ that delivers its acerbic testimony to the superficiality pervading society and absence of respect that ‘the lines on a face’ deserve. Fiddle cuts again drive deep the stark truth within ‘Bethlehem’ with its cry for understanding, and there’s fervent anger in ‘Conquer Trees’ complete with a telling poke at the infection of ‘health and safety’ alongside the impact of tree-killing diseases.
More than a few folk-rockers maintain their refusal to ‘take it lying down’ and they use their music to drive home a point – making their mark by finding something unique rather than running with the herd. That’s exactly what these guys have. There’s the slicing intensity to the vocals and the cutting edge of the fiddle. All about cutting and slicing then? Well actually yes – this music has bags of attitude that carves out a path, takes no prisoners and compromises not one jot. And it’s all the better for that.
FolkLaw are Singer songwriter Nick Gibbs (vocals, fiddle) Bryn Williams (vocals, guitars, mando, bohdran) Marty Fitzgibbon (percussion, snare, backing vocals) Gaz Hunt (percussion, backing vocals) and Lyndon Webb (guitars, sound).
Reviewer: Tim Carroll