‘A Carousel for Fools’ The Mather Robinson Band “… prime cut of unadulterated English folk rock”(August 04, 2015)
Most of what could or should be said about the album ‘A Carousel for Fools’ from The Mather Robinson Band, has been committed to print. However, in short, with this album they take another step to solidify their position in English folk. ‘A Carousel for Fools’ is a mix of classic English folk infused with rock, folding contemporary narratives, themes and messages through the web of tradition with songs of imagination, recollection and invention. And its cutting edge is damn sharp.
Mather and Robinson are unafraid to take their inspirations from diverse sources - the exclusion of Sibelius from Finland’s dictatorial alcohol laws, a tale of the notorious Black Ball Shipping Line, the inequalities brought about by the mendacity of politicians and the shootings at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Each time they exercise their musical and lyrical muscle they turn out songs that rock folk as it should be rocked – punching vocals, soaring flute, driving guitars, pulsing bass. The aforementioned 'Sibelius' comes in with a boisterous rush – a drinking song if I ever heard one - the energy continues with ‘Paradise Street’ before hard messages and frank rebuttals forge 'Men of Constant Sorrow' and ‘We Won’t Lie Down’ to unleash brooding anger.
As I’ve said before, Mather and Robinson have the ability to write songs that could come from today or a hundred years ago, one reason their self-penned and rearranged ‘traditionals’ sit so comfortably together. The softly longing ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’, the gloriously irreverent invention of ‘The Vicar of Barton Wood’, the carefree memories of ‘My Old Town’ and a classic rendition of ‘John Barleycorn’ combine along with everything else on this album to prove the point. And just when you think you ‘have it’ they hit you with the formidable lyrics and poetic power of songs like ‘In the Name of the Father’ and ‘You Should Have Been There’ – potent stuff indeed.
Playing on ‘A Carousel for Fools’ are Anthony Quinn (flutes) Dave Mather (guitars) Pete Robinson (mandolins) and Chris Mather (bass) with vocals by everyone. Find their music here: mather-robinson.bandcamp.com
‘A Carousel for Fools’ - a prime cut of unadulterated English folk rock, carve yourself a slice.
Review: Tim Carroll