Jon Boden is celebrated as a folk stalwart and founder of the now dissolved big band Bellowhead. Afterglow, however, owes more to prog rock than to the folk canon, its elaborate arrangements, stop-start rhythms and melodramatic vocals recalling Gabriel-era Genesis with a dash of Bush and Bowie. It’s a concept album too, its lovers lost in a post-oil urban dystopia apparently modelled on Lewes’ bonfire night celebrations. There are appealing acoustic and woodwind moments – Yellow Lights, Aubade – but the thumping orchestral pieces verge on overkill and the dystopic descriptions of burning barrels seem hysterical at a time of rocketing renewables. Compared to Bellowhead, it’s a damp squib.
Neil Spencer is a writer and an astrologer for The Observer