Review Archive

‘Soltarello’ from Magicfolk - a mesmerising magnet that draws you

(November 28, 2014)

Summer a memory, recollections of autumn fading, winter returning, Yule awaits. The clock of the year Soltarello from Magicfolkturns and with it comes a new album from Magicfolk. Previous albums led through ancient mystery, pagan ritual and legends; ‘Soltarello’ offers more Eastern European dance blended into folk rock, yet still retaining their enigmatic psyche folk edge and Michelle Glover’s rich otherworldly voice. The instrumental arrangements on this album swirl and eddy through a concoction of forms before coalescing into a mesmerising magnet that draws you into its embrace.

Luxurious revels of Eastern dance sit alongside traditional Celtic folk, both given a distinctive touch to lift familiar tunes into uncharted expanses. Just when you think you recognise a melody it takes another form. ‘Soltarello’ evokes a mixture of realms, lost empires, strange territories and invites you to join the journey. The eponymous ‘Saltarello’ is hypnotic, sumptuous and languid, folding neatly into ‘Dance of the Honey Bee’ complete with inventive lyrics that mange to encapsulate descriptive bee-words including ‘Apis mellifera’ and ‘hymenoptera’. The traditional ‘Maggie in the Woods’ is given a typical Magicfolk perspective, as is ‘Bedlam Boys’, while entrancing renditions of ‘Horses Brawl’ conjuring a jaunty ‘duel’ between hurdy gurdy and melodeon and ‘Parson’s Farewell’ add a medieval invocation. Naturally, there’s opportunity to include Michelle’s haunting vocals in songs such as ‘Beltaine (Calan Mai)’ and the involving narrative perplexity of ‘Babylon’.

There’s much to hear in ‘Soltarello’ - one play is insufficient. Magicfolk produce illuminations from darkly dangerous depths and radiances hiding in the shadows, coming to life the more you listen.

Magicfolk are Michelle Glover (lead vocals, guitar, flute, piccolo) and Ben Glover (keyboards, omnichord, bass, ewi, theremin, hurdy gurdy) with Geoff Charlton (drums, congas, darabuka) Chris Scupham (keyboards) and Colin Mold (violin, guitar) also playing on ‘Soltarello’ are Rachael Murray (flute) Stephen Scott (guitar) Kit Marsden (piano, keyboards) Sotos Yiasimi (bouzouki) Anahata (melodeon) Jay (bass) Lee Morant  (lead guitar) and Amber Curtis (flute). Find band and album

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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