Seth Lakeman became a commercial success thanks to his boy-band image and relentlessly dramatic songs, but he now reclaims his folk credentials with new material based partly on interviews that he conducted with everyone from a former rail worker to the witness of a disastrous rehearsal for the D-day landings. His multi-instrumental work is impressive, but his voice still often sounds too urgent. High-energy songs such as The Wanderer, about travellers, or The Courier, about ancient tracks on Dartmoor, are balanced by less frantic pieces about a dockyard worker or young women labourers in the Cornish mines. The best song of all, Portrait of My Wife, is a traditional lament. A special edition of the album includes Lakeman's interviews intercut with his music. It's the technique famously used by Ewan MacColl with his Radio Ballads, and it brings new meaning to the songs.
Robin Denselow is a journalist and broadcaster who specialises in music and politics. He is the author of When The Music's Over, a history of political pop