Neil McSweeney “A Coat Worth Wearing” (Hudson Records 2017)

An album that features an Edward Thomas poem on its sleeve notes is always going to be worth the time spent on it and the rule remains true with this latest offering from the Sheffield folkster. Muscular production and some stunning soundscapes lift the material above the simply strong and into the realm of the memorable. Forlorn Hope has some deep booming beats that underpin the groove and gladden the heart. But it is Danse Macabre that genuinely grabs the listener by the scruff of the neck demanding attention. Hymnal and elegiac the palette grows as vocals collide in a processional celebrating the wolf. There are comparisons to be made with Wolves by Phosphorescence not only in the haunted quality of the storytelling but in the subject matter and manner the story is told.

Land of Cockaigne is a delicate pean with gentle harmonies and gorgeous electronica flourishes. Further highlights are The Strangers of Maresfield Gardens with its Lowlike beginnings of picked guitars, spoken voice buried in the mix and evocative saw, leading to a dialogue between George Patton and Sigmund Freud!  This is neu folk, dark and deep – the late Robert Fisher would have smiled and recognised a kindred spirit.

A fine record, beautifully produced and written and performed with a brio and conviction. This CD will become an old and loyal friend giving more and more as time goes by. Highly recommended

Author: Keith Hargreaves

Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up

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