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Isembard's Wheel Isembard's Wheel
Album: Common Ground
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 9+5 bonus live
Website: http://www.isembardswheel.com

Isembard's Wheel are a 5-piece band from Sheffield. The band have been playing together for several years having met at University in Sheffield. This is there first full length CD release after recording an EP in June 2013.

The songs on the album are mainly self-penned with a couple of traditional songs thrown in but given a new twist. The album starts with a version of Adieu Sweet Nancy which slides into tune of the Shaker Song Simple Gifts (better known as the tune to the hymn Lord of the Dance). The second track D.T.S. (Durham Tower Song) is about the writers return to Durham, perhaps his ancestral home, after being away for a long period of time; an ode to the city of Durham.

Sowain Tul starts with a fine acapella and adds some fine 'hoofing' from Rebekah Foard. This adds a nice change to the sound of the Album and I am sure is also excellent live. From there it's onto The Union Miners, the second traditional song on the album and a perhaps poignant one at present.

Horse on the hill starts with long instrumental piece which leads into the vocals and has a slightly rockier chorus than previous tracks - one to get the foot tapping.

Turners Bones and Avalon completes the album, both from the pen of Alexander Isembard.

The live tracks have some of the between song banter left in, something that always adds context the songs. The first one (Gloucester Gaols) which is about Alexander's ancestors and sets of at a fast pace (think of Steve Knightley's - the Galway Farmer). This is followed by a couple of songs from the EP including a great live version of Skylarks.

A nice touch, on the cd packaging, is the list of names of those who crowdfunded the album, in an old English style script.

This album has whetted my appetite and I am looking forward to an opportunity to hear Isambard's Wheel live, but for now the CD will get lots of play in this household at least.

David Hiney