Merlin's Keep - infectious, energetic folk rock(January 15, 2012)
Hailing from Grimsby on the English East Coast five-piece Merlin's Keep play infectious, energetic, thoughtful Celtic folk rock based around three, four and five-part harmonies. Their latest (fourth) album ‘High On A Hill’ serves up a blend of legend inspired, eco-influenced, rustic folk rock – and it’s just a fresh as ever. It's a collection of self-penned songs crafted in celebration of English rural legends, the lure of the natural world and the call of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
This music could come from no country other than England. The eponymous opener, ‘High On A Hill’ inspired by the mysticism of ley lines, sets the scene for what follows, and encompasses the engaging essence and strength of home-grown English folk rock. The insistent hook driven by catchy violin and punchy percussion that links the verses of ‘Spirit of The Place’ ensure this song is set to become a festival folk anthem – listen and sing along to this one at this summer’s events. There’s a similar anthemic feel, although more gentle and thoughtful to ‘Take It Back’, while ‘Come Dance With Me’ instantly gives away it’s dance-inspired origins in the same way that ‘If I Can Change You’ reflects the band’s enduring pastoral, harmonic, vocal-driven approach to folk rock.
With ‘High On A Hill’ the band continues its developing progress through folk, adding more depth with each album they release – and as ever, Merlin’s Keep are Simon Naylor, Sue Naylor, Jo Gray, Tracey Smith and Joe Gray.
Reviewer: Dan Holland