Water-born English folk on sophomore record from Fly Yeti Fly.
The English folk revival of the 1960s and 1970s was fuelled by political protest and social upheaval. It gave rise to artists such as June Tabor and Ralph McTell, who rose to prominence with their singer-songwriter form of social commentary. The Nu-folk revival of the early 2000s was fuelled by a desire to fly in the face of the elaborately produced electronic music that filled the charts at the time. It gave rise to artists such as Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons.
In the early 2020s, we seem to be on the cusp of another folk revival, perhaps fuelled by a global pandemic and a desire to get back to basics. Lorna Somerville and Darren Fisher of Fly Yeti Fly could be just the kind of artists to benefit from it. The Wiltshire-based folk duo wrote and recorded their second album, ‘Make a Ring’, in their houseboat studio, afloat upon the Kennet and Avon canal. Bearing some of the hallmarks of their English folk predecessors, the album features guitar, mandolin and vocal arrangements by Somerville and Fisher, accompanied by double bass (Alex Pearson), cello (Jo Hooper), violin (Annie Baylis) and flute (Catherine Hurley).
Most of the songs take inspiration from life on the canal and the combination of sunshine and rainbows, light and dark that such a lifestyle brings. The opening track, ‘Start Listening’, focuses on the cyclical nature of life while the brooding ‘Firewood’ tells the story of a feuding couple who are trapped on their boat in the depths of winter and begin to burn their most treasured possessions to stay warm. Instinctive harmonies, well thought out melodies and deft musicianship bring a sense of living on the water to life. Clocking in at 48 minutes, this album is longer than many. But much as time passes slowly when you’re living on the water, the minute count matters less than the sense of abandonment and escapism it produces. This is English folk craftsmanship of the highest order.