Alasdair Roberts: Pangs review – folk that rocks

(Drag City)

One never knows what’s going to arrive from the prolific Scots singer; bleak antique balladry, self-penned songs, austere acoustics or, as here, a full band that combines cello, fiddle and flute with bass, drums and flashes of electric guitar. Roberts’s elaborate writing style – winding melodies, dense imagery, internal rhymes – means it’s folk that rocks rather than “folk rock”, though the group storm through The Angry Laughing God and The Downward Road (the latter complete with “canine yelp”). For contrast come observational pieces like Scarce of Fishing and the reflective Vespers Chime, delivered in Roberts’s sharp brogue. Though it’s all new, the weirdness of ancient folk is ever present; he’s a true original.

Contributor

Neil Spencer

The GuardianTramp

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