A little while ago I reviewed a couple of tracks released as tasters for The Stormy Seas’ new album Of Rust And Lost, released on their own label Shipping Forecast. Now I’ve been listening to that album for about a week now (I’d say 6 or 7 listens through), and I think my opinion is pretty well good enough to eat. It’s one of the best folk albums of 2011.
I’ll provide some context; all week Edinburgh has been putting on a last flourish before the winter winds return and teach the Fresher’s students the meaning of cold. My friend Tess takes better photos than I do, and you can look at them on her blog. My morning walk to campus along the hunched spine of the Meadows has been beautiful; the trees are bronze and crimson, the yellow leaves pile up in great heaps at the side of the path and it’s still warm enough to go out without a coat on. Of Rust And Loss has provided a soundtrack to this autumnal glory.
Amongst the eleven tracks on Of Rust, not a single one is a dud. Eleven tracks of idiosyncratic, powerful, heartfelt folk, with intelligent lyrics and brilliant melodies. I’ve already written about Morbid Desires and Tall Ships In May so I won’t mention them again, but the opener, Are You My Maker, is great.
Apple Tree is a guitar-driven, pensive anchor before the lovely Slow Dance. Souls, Souls Part 2 and Souls Part 3 (dispersed about the album) show off the band’s range, carving out new styles with each track. The final track, Middle Man, is awesome – a masterclass in the well-aimed drop.
I like folk, and nearly all of my favourite Scottish bands are folk-orientated. But the thing they have in common (I’m thinking Chasing Owls, Matt Norris & The Moon, The Wee Rogue, and Randolph’s Leap here), apart from irresistible accents, is that they’re reinventing the genre in their own little niches.
That’s part of why Stornoway,Villagers, Laura Marling, Mumford and Noah & The Whale et al have taken off so well; by creating new music out of old bones. The Stormy Seas typify this canon for me.
So to recap: Of Rust and Loss is one the best albums so far this year, Stormy Seas are among the best folk/pop/rock acts in the country and we should all have a listen.