'Chasing the Light' from The Old Dance School(May 01, 2012)
A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the Old Dance School’s debut release and mentioned to anyone who’d care to listen that of the current crop of ‘new’ folk bands that they deserved to be up there with Bellowhead and Show Of Hands.
I personally hope they’ve achieved this goal at least on the festival circuit…for that’s where they deserve to be. Ever since Moving Hearts crashed onto the scene thirty-years ago with their genre-breaking ‘folk-jazz’ it has taken until now for a truly British band to make their mark in similar style. Comparisons may be odious but inevitable and if the members of the band; Helen Lancaster, Samantha Norman, Robin Beatty, Tom Chapman, Laura Carter, Aaron Diaz and Adam Jarvis don’t mind being counted alongside such august company then I for one am happy to give them that compliment.
On ‘Chasing The Light’ the music is smooth without being ‘too clever’ and although some of the ‘old guard’ of traditionalists may baulk at the very idea of unusual time changes this proves that young whippersnappers can indeed confound their peers without cocking a snook to what has gone before. I enjoy reading the lyrics to songs and from the pen of Robin Beatty who obviously holds his father in high regard he has come to respect those things in life that are passed from generation to generation….an all too rare thing in the youth of today.
Being socially aware, Beatty conveys his passion for the tradition with the (unfortunately) coming onslaught of modern technology on the track ‘Sula Sgier’ but if you make time to read the lyrics you’ll feel refreshed and perhaps a little more sensitive to our environment. Technical mastery of the band’s instrumentation combined with insightful songs can hopefully inform and educate both the young and the old in this business we label ‘folk’…at least I really hope so. ‘Chasing The Light’ is out on Transition Records – TRANSCD05.
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe