The contribution that Alastair Roberts has lately made to each live or recorded set to which he lent his presence has been so alchemical that it should be no surprise at all that a new album under his own name is a rich concoction of elements that it will surely reveal secrets long into the year of its release.
And 10 years hence, when it is still giving, guessing what year that was will be the real challenge. Unlike many more pan-Atlantically commercially successful recordings of nouveau folk that you may be aware of, there is real depth here – raiding sources over five centuries – and the sort of breadth that makes Roberts' description of work with words like "cosmological" and "phantasmagorical" as inarguable as they are amusing.
Trad it may be, but the dominant instrument for much of it is Ben Reynolds' electric guitar, played in a style that should make Richard Thompson proud, as well as Rafe Fitzpatrick's fiddle. There are some familiar melodies, but the combination of the Bluebell Polka with a rap in Welsh or Red River Valley with a chant of "Get over your tiny self" is defiantly right now.
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