Friday, 3 October 2008

Babel - Crooked Timber (People Tree 2008)

Babel is a Bristolian sextet comprises of a veritable folk orchestra. Percussion, cello, violin, guitars and voice and now, after last year's mini-album, 'Pearl Street Raga', we get 'Crooked Timber' their first full-length effort. Calling in folk rock, old fashioned Americana and pastoral acoustic string arrangements, they trend a mean line in beautiful music. Singer, Danny Coughlan's lyrical concerns are his learn lessons from a hedonistic past, new age spirituality, lost love, lust and the odd murder ballad. There is a whisky-soaked sadness tinged to the music as it shuffles and strums through your ears.

'Trinity Thugs' takes in new angles on villains and victims in school, while 'Seachange' beautifully tells the story of the break-up of a family and its inherent repercussions. There is a definite feeling of troubled times and lives loved and lost on here, Danny Coughlan has led a tough life and seen it through the other side, using Babel's multi-layered approach as a cathartic eruption of emotion and melancholy. This is a melodic life-affirming slice of blues and strings, tinged with folk and emotion, in the vein of super songwriters like award-winning Guy Garvey.

Check out Babel live at Bristol Harbour festival singing album track, 'Piece of Me':

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