Friday, September 7, 2012

CD Review: Bellowhead's 'Broadside'

Navigator Records

UK's acclaimed folk-rock group, Bellowhead, arrive with a new album that attempts to continue the band's writhing folk-rock rhythms and melodies that are playful, loud, and theatrical. The experimental and improvisational antics are contemporary and classical at the same time. The jaunty rhythms, quick melodies, and horn-driven outros are seemingly outlandish and crude, but the effect is awe-inspiring. Not particularly traditional, the tunes are reinvented with a plethora of exciting instruments (nearly twenty to be exact) that are always engaging. Canada's Scottish and Irish fusion band, Glengarry Bhoys, are similar, but more rock-driven than Bellowhead. Though, the quirkiness of Squonk Opera is observed on occasion. Nevertheless, Bellowhead knows how to achieve success with both live performances and recorded music by understanding English folk tune heritage and understanding what contemporary listeners want to hear in a fun manner. The dozen tunes are traditional in nature and every one is stellar. Nothing is amiss here. Bellowhead is above everyone else when it comes to English folk. ~ Matthew Forss

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