Review Archive

‘The Rookery’ - the latest work from Chris Helme

(June 15, 2012)

Another ‘folk-not-folk’ album to review ... many will argue it lacks the required folk element to appearChris Helme album here ... be that as it may, there are plentiful folk configurations wound around the melodiously precise ‘The Rookery’ - the latest work from Chris Helme. Due for release at the end of August 2012, this album forges another milestone in the ever-changing folk rock-folk pop miasma of brilliantly written music.

Do sweeping strings, choral effects, distorted guitars and crashing chords belong here? That’s not up for debate. This album may be pretty far removed from folk – and yet? For instance, listen to the opener ‘Pickled Ginger’. No matter, the eclectic mix is there and it works as part of the overall effect to create a piece that’s worth your time and ears. The acoustic ingredient is strong, as are rock-edged influences and pop-inspired hooks. Complex strings fit the melodies to perfection and sit comfortably alongside overlaid percussive snaps, insistent drums, explosive guitars and keyboard breaks - all embellished with Chris’s perceptive and eminently listenable vocals.

Notable tracks include the mournful ‘Darkest Days’, the pulse and power of ‘The Spindle and The Cauldron’ and the acoustic rock-driven catch to ‘Daddies Farm’, while the gentle ‘Summer Girl’ will stay with you a long time.

Playing on the album along with Chris (vocals, guitars) are Chris Farrell (guitars) Stuart Fletcher (bass) Gethin Sinkins (drums, percussion) Billy Hickling (percussion) John Hargreaves (keyboards, stirng arrangements) The Ligeti Quartet (strings) Christian Topman (double bass) Hayley Hutchison (backing vocals, percussion) Nick Walker (guitar) Sam Forrest (bass, guitars, banjo, backing vocals) Chris Johnson (piano) Nick Thompson (fiddle) and Carl Hetherington (upright piano).

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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