With the addition of Belshazzar’s Feast’s Paul Hutchinson on accordion and Producer Lyndon Webb’s mandolin and guitar to their lineup this is the expanded Folklaw’s third album. We’ll Rise, a song for women’s rights campaigner Mary Macarthur, has the passionate group vocals and insistent pace of Show Of Hands, with a wonderful pairing of fiddle and flute on the melody. Hills of our Minds and Rocks of the Burren, written on the road between Galway and County Clare, with Nick Gibbs fine vocals have the freewheeling feel of Fisherman’s Blues era Waterboys, which is very much a good thing. Folky Pirates has that lovely Celtic pairing of Gibbs’ fiddle and Jacquelyn Hynes flute and a quirky lyric. On Baby You’ve Changed, like Police Dog Hogan, Folklaw weave a darkly humorous story, detailed and quirky enough to be true, around a bouncing Folk Rock tune perfect to jump up and down to in a festival crowd. Last Day Of Summer and One Too Far have that South West beach holiday nostalgia of both Show of Hands and Police Dog Hogan, with beautiful fiddle and flute melodies and some fine group vocals. Negen or Nayhoo, Dutch for 9, is a upbeat celebration of touring Europe again with a spirited tune and those distinctive Folklaw lush vocals. After the humor of the previous tracks, Love Again is a stripped back love song that reminded me of the beauty of 80s Whippersnapper or Fairport Convention’s take on Ralph McTell’s Hiring Fair. Nick and Emi McDade’s vocals are an almost jazzy delight with some beautiful piano also from Emi. Gaz Hunt’s drums plus Nick’s fiddle and vocal drive Angels Wings, with a touch of The Devil Went Down to Georgia coming through.
Carefully arranged music from a interesting band who always sound like they are having a good time. The album We Will Rise pulls in Celtic beauty, the rolling good time of The Waterboys and some of the ‘real lives writ large’ sense of Show Of Hands cut with the wry smile of Police Dog Hogan.
Four Stars ****
This review also appeared in the fine Fatea Magazine.