The Sundowners: Cut the Master review – paisley psych from Coral affiliates

(Skeleton Key)

Produced by the Coral’s frontman James Skelly in James Skelly’s studio and released by James Skelly’s label, it might be a surprise to hear that Wirral group the Sundowners – who feature two of James Skelly’s family members – bear only a faint sonic resemblance to the work of a certain James Skelly. Some of his psychedelic inclinations do rise to the fore at times – Before the Storm’s driving guitar and spooky keys, for example – but mostly this lot trade in folkier, Fairport Convention, Smoke Fairies and Espers-inspired wistful romance, especially in their haunted harmonies. But all too often, stodgy riffs steer the music down a muddy path instead of guiding it towards some heavenly hippie sanctuary, with the result that the album feels slightly over-long. Nevertheless, for a certain sort of community – one that revels in analog instruments, pagan references, paisley-print shirts with massive lapels, big sideburns and even bigger fringes, or just the ghost of James Skelly – Cut the Master should still satisfy.


Harriet Gibsone

The GuardianTramp

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