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Stick In The Wheel Stick In The Wheel
Album: Tales From St. Jude's, Bethnal Green (single)
Label: From Here
Tracks: 2

Stick In The Wheel's latest release is another departure from the accepted norm, with an even more adventurous format. This time it comes in the shape of a slip-cased 7" vinyl single in an embossed, gold-foiled sleeve, which is bound (by means of a tied cotton archival tape) to a matching companion 16-page booklet replicating Victorian parish materials (archive images including the splendid church exterior, as well as sundry printed ephemera) from the site of St. Jude's Church in Bethnal Green, which though destroyed by a WW2 bomb remains of importance to Stick In The Wheel because of their ancestral ties to the parish. This release grew out of the band's VOICED project residency at Phytology, the site of St Jude's Church.

The music on the vinyl single can also be downloaded using the special code printed on a sticker on the hand-stamped paper-bag that houses the whole artefact. It comprises two pieces taken from historical sources and set to new music by Stick In The Wheel. Cryes is a plaintive lament, equally plaintively accompanied, taken from a 17th century broadside ballad, which takes the listener through a litany of street cries that becomes more urgent as the dramatic tension (and the number of voices) doth increase. Broomes, sung fetchingly by Nicola solo and acapella, comprises a street trader's words of entreaty for the sale of that basic household requirement for just one penny; its words come from a 16th century play Three Ladies Of London. The texts for both items are usefully reprinted in the accompanying booklet.

Fascinatingly spooky - not least in the church nameplate's quotation "Men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever.", and very powerful. This package is a creative artefact of considerable value.

David Kidman