‘A Travelling Band’ from Batleurs - tight-as-teeth, mellow as distilled spirit(July 03, 2013)
Music always falls where it may - from neither loved nor hated, never to set the world alight; through so dire you have to vacate the room; to music with the pull of a 1,000 pound marlin. That's music that from the first time you hear it reaches out and seizes the part of you that music should capture. ‘A Travelling Band’ the new album from Batleurs does that and more. From the combination of gutsy vocals and catchy harmonies to the pulsating ‘heavy-diesel’ rhythm drive with sharp guitar and fiddle accents, Batleurs smoothly weld Celtic and American influences into tight-as-teeth, mellow as distilled spirit, folk-and-country rock.
Like honeyed bourbon and gasoline fumes ‘A Travelling Band’ has an evocative, deep-core feel. The immediate draw of ‘Temptation’ pulls like a train, while the mournful echoes of ‘Barriers’ takes you deeper into its lure, before the resigned ‘on the road again’ lyrics of ‘A Travelling Song’ seduce you to the open road. The evocative melody, timeless fiddle and longing lyrics of ‘Morganstown’ demand attention and then comes ‘The Old Railroad’ ripping tune, tough narrative, fearless lyric and heartfelt vocal – Steve Earle would love this one.
There’s a fluency to this replete music that makes you think of sitting carefree and relaxed in a favourite bar, kicked back, feet up watching the world go by - listen to ‘Wayfarer’s Daughter’. Then again, it can just as easily turn like ‘Firecracker’ become voracious, fill your soul with a need to mount a two-wheel steed and leave in a cloud of dust.
Unfamiliar with Batleurs? Well there's Sean Amor (vocals, guitars, harmonica, songwriting) Daryl Ball (vocals, guitars, mandolin, cello, piano, songwriting) Anna Wall (vocals, fiddle, percussion) Chris McCormack (drums, percusiion) and Nick Wall (bass guitar) with Sam Bates (piano, organ) and Jason Hull (whistle) joining them on ‘A Travelling Band’. Find Batleurs here: www.bateleurs.co.uk.
Perhaps I've hung around with Tom Franks for too long but I think ‘A Travelling Band’ has genuine ‘grab’ - no imitations, no lite-versions, nothing watered down - so pull on your Lucchese boots, grab your Vanson jacket and travel with the band.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll