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Pilgrims’ Way – Wayside Courtesies

June 28, 2011 by  

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Pilgrims’ Way –  Wayside Courtesies

NAME: Pilgrims’ Way
ALBUM: Wayside Courtesies
DATE: 11July2011

LABEL: Fellside

RATING: 4/5

FIVE WORD REVIEW: Left-field, honed and genuinely unique.

LOCATION: Stockport, UK

LINE UP: Edwin Beasant, Lucy Wright, Tom Kitching.

pilgrims-way-band-edged.png

WHAT’S THE STORY?: Not so much an album as a Ye Olde Traditionale Pub simulator, with the filter settings set to Rose tinted. Picture a roaring fire, some sort of hairy dog lolling all over the place, a Fiddle, some accordion and clear as bell vocals from fine Country Lass, with the clientele joining in for a roaring chorus.

WARNING: This album features extended use of the legendary and underappreciated Mouth Harp. Use live ammunition only.

SOUNDS LIKE: It’s an unusual brew and definitely a case of Mileage May Vary – you don’t walk into Our Price, Woolworths, Virgin, Zavvi, HMV and decide to sample a discs worth of traditional jigs on a whim, you probably had a very specific goal in mind there.

But if you can shoulder your prejudices (wonderful and comforting as they are) you’ll discover that this a, isn’t a gimmick and b, certainly not twee. Rather an honest commitment to the bygone age of flat caps, pipes and questionable marrying of cousins, with no dilution of the sound via some sudden electro break-down, attempt to connect with modern ‘issues’, or ill-advised rap interludes.

It’s also damn good. The simulation’s pretty much poly-phonic surround, ne’er drop a note, perfect. Each track is well constructed, features flawless mastery of the instruments and are fantastic at evoking mood. Something starkly apparent on ‘My Generous Lover/Det Tomte Mjodkruset’, with a vocals-only ballad giving way to a barroom thigh slapper which holds a genuinely threatening edge – uncannily similar to that disturbing ritual scene in Thulsa Doom’s temple from Conan the Destroyer with all the cannibalism and shapeshifting into serpents (seriously).

Lucy Wright’s voice is also painfully wonderful. Can you really have un-ironic lyrics referencing the ‘Queen of the May’ in today’s day and age? Apparently you can and it’s probably 80% down to her heavenly singing. Try picturing Delores O’Rhiorden if she actually lived in 1914 (ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE!) rather than just singing about it and you’re about halfway there. If this were a period drama she could use it to reap a harvest of poor young village boys’s hearts and then probably tame a rampaging dragon or something (They defo had dragons in the old days. Well established fact. Time Team and everything).

Let’s finish with an appropriate quote from Sherlock Holmes: “It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: Cider, fiddles and ‘maids’. Something that while not subtly different, employs subtle work in it’s execution.

LINK: http://www.pilgrims-way.net/


Submitted By Andrew Gregory


 

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