‘A New Ground’ by Home Service - continuing a tradition that is all their own(November 02, 2016)
Disbanding, reuniting, moving on, reuniting once again, a mix of projects, adding brass to folk, coming together and drifting apart, long-time departures and new arrivals ... Home Service are the personification of ‘nothing remains the same’. Now, there’s a new album, ‘A New Ground’ and as ever, they remain a proverbial ‘shot in the arm’ for English folk rock. With John Kirkpatrick on lead vocal, taking over from John Tams who has retired from the band, coupled with additions and redirections Home Service emerge as fresh and vibrant as ever and with this album full of new material, continuing a tradition that is all their own.
Hard as it is to fix their music into any sort of category there’s obviously folk, there’s jazz too and rock with progressive overtones and pop elements in the mix, which makes their music so eclectic that any form of definition rather than classifying, excludes too much. Take this music as it comes ... enjoy the instrumental extravagance, absorb the observational lyrics with acid sharp examinations, relish in the richness of a blend of brass accents and driving guitar, and the presence of the distinctive vocals ... that gives you ‘A New Ground’ from Home Service.
‘Kellingley’ opens with almost medieval murmurings as a ‘fanfare to the miners’, before the power of Issey Emeney’s stirring words are given life in ‘The Last Tommy’ from there it’s but a short step to an amalgamation of Henry Purcell with Findon and Kirkpatrick to produce ‘A New Ground’, the cutting lyrics of ‘Dirt Dust Lorries and Noise’. That medieval tinge returns with ‘The King’s Hunt’ while ‘Ten Pound Lass’ morphs into the harrowing ‘The Skies Turned Grey’ before 'Cheeky Capers' sends you on your way immersed in the uniqueness of Home Service.
Home Service is John Kirkpatrick (lead vocal, accordion, concertina) Graeme Taylor (guitars, backing vocals) Andy Findon (flute, piccolo, fife, soprano sax, tenor sax, keyboard) Michael Gregory (drums, percussion) Steve King (keyboards, tenor sax) Paul Archibald (trumpets, flugel horn) Rory McFarlane (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Roger Williams (trombones, tuba)
Review: Tim Carroll