M. Cambridge “Land Songs: The Ballad of Sok le Boy”

Kirkinriola Records, 2021

Belfast songwriter, inspired by an old map, comes up with cracking little EP.

M. Cambridge is the side project of Mark McCambridge of highly regarded Belfast act Arborist. ‘Land Songs: The Ballad of Sok le Boy’ is a four-song EP which follows on from his 2019 EP ‘Sea Songs: Anatomy of a Drowning Man’ which explored the rich tradition of sea songs around the coasts of Britain and Ireland. The songs featured on the new EP are based on an old 1610 map of Ulster that Mark bought, and which now hangs proudly in the toilet of his home.

The four tracks on the EP were recorded at Bill Drummond’s The Curlew Tower in Country Antrim and have a warm homemade feel, their sparse instrumentation giving full focus to vocals that have an almost pained or even haunted quality to them. The reflections and interpretations inspired by the map on each of the three songs fascinate and beguile the listener. The third of the four tracks ‘Contention of the Bards’ is an instrumental that also succeeds in sustaining the atmosphere of the vocal tracks by conjuring up a tense, dreamy soundtrack that might just be perfect for wistfully surveying an old map of your own.

M Cambridge’s little EP demonstrates a real talent and conjures up a whole range of possibilities for future projects. This little taste, which is very well worth thirteen minutes of your time, ploughs a similar furrow to some of Darren Hayman’s work, only with a more interesting accent.


About Clint West 327 Articles
From buying my first record aged 10 and attending my first gig at 14, music has been a lifelong obsession. A proud native of Suffolk, I have lived in and around Manchester for the best part of 30 years. My idea of a perfect day would be a new record arriving in the post in the morning, watching Ipswich Town win in the afternoon followed by a gig and a pint with my mates at night,
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