‘The Hangman’s Fee’ from Green Diesel - portentous, brooding and sometimes ill-omened(February 01, 2017)
It’s always a delight when new bands make progress with their art, equally it’s just as rewarding to hear an established band simply getting better. This time it’s those accomplished performers of classic folk rock, Green Diesel. Having reviewed their successive albums, their latest studio album reveals another high-point for the band ... with ‘The Hangman’s Fee’, Green Diesel deservedly occupy their place within pantheon of English folk rock.
Listening to ‘The Hangman’s Fee’ the band is tighter than ever, blending the composing skills of Greg Ireland, with those of Ellen Care and Matt Dear, coupled to Roger Cotton’s superb production (to whom the album is dedicated). The themes on this album are portentous, brooding and sometimes ill-omened ... songs relating murderous intent, echoing betrayal, involving malevolent spirits and threatening resolve ... all classic folk fare.
Opening with ominous ‘The Elephant Tree’ the familiar musical drive and involving vocals immediately arise, the brooding ‘Butcher Bird’ swoops in with equal bite, before Ellen Care perfectly delivers the cautionary tale of ‘I Loved My Love’. They move out of their original writing with trad arr outings ‘The White Hare’ and ‘Through The Lonesome Woods’, before they return to their original writing with the ominous strangeness of ‘Jenny With The Lantern’, changing tack with the mellower intensity of ‘Domovoi’ written by Matt Dear. And should anyone wonder, in true folk rock style, Green Diesel rip out instrumentals with the best of them, through tune sets like ‘Jump At The Sun’ and The Roger Cotton’.
‘The Hangman’s Fee’ releases on 17th February ... and if any album is on you post-Christmas ‘must purchase’ list this should be it.
Green Diesel are Ellen Care (lead vocal, violin) John Biron (button accordion, mandolin, musical saw) Matt Dear (lead guitar, vocals) Ben Holiday (bass) Colin Ireland (drums, vocals) and Greg Ireland (guitar, bouzouki, dulcimer, mandolin, keyboards, percussion, vocals) with Roger Cotton (keyboards, percussion).
Review: Tim Carroll