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Patch & The Giant Patch & The Giant
Album: All The We Had, We Stole
Label: Absolute
Tracks: 12 + 1 Hidden
Website: http://www.patchandthegiant.com

"All That We Had We Stole" is the debut album from Patch & The Giant, a band who describe themselves as Alt-Folk, it's a tag that ensures an immediate comparison to Mumford & Sons.

Looking beyond the immediate, a better starting point to focus on the sound would be to look at the structured textures of American Indie Rockers The Decemberists.

Listening to the opening track, "The Beggar's Song", a rousing rant of social scorn "The price of a life is worth twice if it's nicer than a man on a street with no name". It's a strong, if bleak, start.

The darkness though is blown away with the shanty like "A Local Man", one of those Festival Type songs that catch you, swaying and dancing pint in hand, having a great time.

Having been lifted, Patch & The Giant then bring us sadness with "The River" a tale of isolation "Talking to trees, drinking the moon, do as I please, for I never knew she'd go down to the river bed, the day that she shivered there and died".

And then there's the gorgeous and delicate "Love And War", Luke Owen's rich, plaintive and soulful, almost to the point of breaking, vocals, Gabriel Merryfield's violin mournful, Angie Rance's accordion adding to the emotion, before Derek Yau's deep and resonate cello kicks in with the percussion of Nick Harris. Written about the ability to let go of things you hold dear; the irony is it's one of the strongest songs on the album and therefore hard to let go of.

Talented and diverse, it's eclectic stuff of the highest calibre.

With each subsequent track "All We Had We Stole" reveals a little more, pulls you in and you warm to a band that you are listening to for the first time.

Even subjects such as domestic violence can be overcome as the upbeat, chanting "Another Day" leads the way in overcoming adversity, Rance's brass and piano totally fitting the song, it's truly glorious.

Having been chosen as a single, "Flowers" made Apple Music's hot playlist in September 2016 which in turn led to deserved radio coverage.

Add in appearances at events such as Green Man, Lamer Tree, Wilderness and Cambridge Folk festival and you wonder how you possibly have missed Patch & The Giant.

Don't though beat yourself up if you have yet to see them, the band are currently touring the UK in support of the release.

"Where My Body Lies" with its rolling piano and cello has elements of Glen Hansard's Swell Season and I can't praise it more highly than that.

Enjoying Patch & The Giant's is an optionless choice, at least through this reviewer's eyes.

Simplicity takes a on a whole new meaning in "Are You Listening", a dictionary definition re-written.

Then there's "America", a circus sea shanty, "the rocks are jagged and they hurt", brazen brass and banjo, frenetic fiddling, I'm told its about measuring success.

Officially closing the album, the title track ends with birdsong, it is a fitting and appropriate way to close.

Lengthy pause, then the hidden track, paint strippingly bare, you listen. I'll say no more.

Eventually it ends. Your finger hovers. One Click. "All That We Had We Stole" that 'repeat' button never seemed so welcome.

Ian Cripps