This one is, well, different. Salvor had a sort of gleeful innocence which radiated their joy in playing together. This is the wholly more wizened, more calculated sound of a band taking themselves a little more seriously. There’s a different line-up for one thing – Moray, Carter and fiddler Tom Moore joined here by Archie Churchill-Moss on melodeon, Barnaby Stradling on bass and Stuart Provan on drums creating a big sound full of crushing climaxes. Been grappling with it, to be honest.
William Glenn explodes with genuine bravura, Captain Kidd swiftly launches itself into an impassioned crescendo of noise and drama and slowly but surely the power within is unleashed to convincing levels that make me yearn to add the word ‘headbanging’. And let’s face it we can all benefit from a bit of folk headbanging. But maybe it was the slightly thin sound of opening track Babylon – it should blow your head off but doesn’t – which at first set this up to be a disappointment; while Black Velvet Band is set to a new tune that sounds a little leaden.
Sam Carter comes into his own indulging his passion for shapenote hymns on the beautifully arranged Far On Distant Lands and – always one for a bloody narrative – makes a decent fist, too, of The Murder Of Maria Marten. With a crazed instrumental, The Ombudsman, and huge choruses like Drink Old England Dry and, indeed, Babylon, it has the hallmark of an album designed as a great live set… though maybe the sort of album where you say, yeah it’s good, but not as good as seeing them do this stuff live.