‘Scheherazade’ from Freakwater - tradition respected, innovation unleashed(August 18, 2016)
Band names are intensely personal. They are also sometimes perfect descriptions. Freakwater is such a name. Although you could change ‘freak’ to ‘strange’ or ‘weird’, it matters not, the sense of what to expect is perfect. 'Scheherazade’ the latest album from Freakwater holds more of the iconic harmonies of Janet Bean and Catherine Irwin, the distinctive mix of bluegrass, folk and country all subsumed into a dread darkness that holds as much ominous foreboding as it does quasi-gothic horror.
At times there’s glimmers of humour in a dour sort of way, before darker issues rise to the surface. Those unique harmonies range from fragile through intimidating to downright scary, taking the listener from whatever comfort zone they expected to places where the lyrics and the music dominate. Tradition is respected, innovation is unleashed. The boundaries of Americana breached by banjo, bass, guitar, violin, organ and synthesiser. Stand out racks include ‘What People Want’, ‘Down Will Come Baby’ and ‘Velveteen Matador’. If you’re unaware of Freakwater, spend some time listening the rewards will be obvious.
Freakwater on ‘Scheherazade’ are Catherine Ann Irwin (vocals, guitar, banjo) Janet Beveridge Bean (vocals, guitar, mandola) David Wayne Gray (bass) Morgan Greer (electric guitar) Anna Krippenstapel (violin, vocals) Neal Argabright (drums, pump organ) with help from a fine group of talented musicians.
Review: Tom Franks