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Green Diesel Green Diesel
Album: The Hangman's Fee
Label: Talking Elephant
Tracks: 10

Last time I reviewed Green Diesel I was very keen to come at this band which was unfamiliar to me with a completely clean slate. No Youtubing or snooping on their website until I had listened to the album all the way through. It has been interesting for me now to approach the latest album by Green Diesel with a little more experience. I knew (or thought I knew) exactly what I would be getting and how the album would be presenting itself to me.

The first thing that really struck me for the latest release, 'The Hangman's Fee', was that thankfully Green Diesel were not simply going to rehash previous music and stick a new label on it. I had a feel Green Diesel would not disappoint, after all I had enjoyed their previous album 'Wayfarers All' (2014? Was it really that long ago?) enough for it to earn a place on my Ipod.

It became apparent from the first track of this newest release that I was going to have to make some room on said Ipod, in order to accommodate this new album as well. Green Diesel have done everything right in creating more good music for the folk scene, and have managed to avoid the pitfalls and traps can end up falling into.

First and foremost the overall sound is familiar without being repetitive. You would probably be able to pick out a Green Diesel track when your music is on shuffle as that high energy blast will instantly tap you on the shoulder and introduce itself.

The Hangman's Fee continues the adventure of the band by blending traditional folk instruments and style with modern electric guitars and drums to give us goose bump inducing music. Green Diesel are very clever in how their music is arranged. 'Jump at the Sun' starts off as a slow and embracing piece that warms up the listener which begins to gradually ignite and flare with more passion and fuel when it hits the 1:00 mark until you surrounded and engulfed by the flames. It then settles down again around the 2:00 mark but leaves this phantom of energy waiting in the air to come and strike again. It finally releases that high tension shortly after to send shock waves through your headphones. (Or speakers/grammerphone, whatever playback device you use. Health and safety tip: Keep volume to safe levels. Don't do what I did.)

I am a big advocate of variety in albums. If you have read any of my reviews before, you may have realised this already, as it is a subject I try to approach in everything I listen to. Green Diesel have not disappointed here either. After the great musical track of 'Jump at the Sun' we get more vocals. Lead singer Ellen Core really does have a great voice. At first I was going to write 'lovely' voice but this would inaccurate. There is a strength to her vocals that makes me think she is the kind of person who would not take any nonsense or beat around the bush. Personality in vocals always adds this extra layer and all vocal aspects of the album accomplish this. The last quarter of 'Butcher Bird' really highlights the entire vocal range of the band and shows you how the band fits together like a jigsaw.

Equally, 'I Loved My Love' brings vocals and music together perfectly and for me personally is one of the best tracks Green Diesel has in their entire repertoire, not just this album. The fifth track of the album 'The White Hare' decides to mix things up entirely by giving the rock element of the band along with male focus that slight more forward facing role. It is different enough from the rest of the album to be new and exciting without remotely feeling out of place.

If you are the kind of person who prefers slightly slower and jolly/soothing tracks then do not worry, Green Diesel has thought of you too. The next few tracks 'Domovoi' and 'Through Lonesome Woods', while not slow songs, are much gentler than some of the previous and gives more of a warm glow feeling.

As always Green Diesel always presents at least one really traditional sounding track that just sums up traditional folk music. For the last album, for me, it was the 'Southcliffe Jig'. In this latest release we have 'The Roger Cotton'. Fast, traditional and catchy. Everything you want from a folk band.

I do not regret asking to review this band back in 2014, and I do not regret asking to review their latest album now. I will sit patiently and pray I get the honour of reviewing their next album too.

Paul Rawcliffe