From the deep, resonant fog horn call of the clarinet that opens "The Long Return" it's clear that there is something special about Threaded, a Midlands based, classically trained trio who offer a unique take on the world of folk music. The combination of Clarinet, Violin and Guitar are so unusual yet sounding so complimentary and natural, the music quite simply dazzles.
It's a brightness that offers insights. "The Long Return" evokes emotions, the weariness is palpable, "Pull together, not far to go, heave ho, heave ho" Jamie Rutherford has the tiredness of the ages in his voice, it's a man breathing the last dregs of the rum ration. Soon comes the second wind, hope is alive. Little eddies of violin suggest seagulls and the expectation of land. Now there's a belief, a certainty in the singing. Then there's the urgency, the power of the final few strokes, the call, nay demand, one last push, we can do it. We are there. There was never any doubt, you feel as if you are part of the crew. The euphoria is ours.
"Under The Olive Tree" follows, a period of relaxation, Rosie Bott's clarinet entices you into a dream like state as it dances ever so gently with the violin of Ning-ning Li, with Rutherford's guitar offering a link back to the world of the waking. It's atmospheric heaven.
Melancholy and reflection, soft harmonies, "Look Me Up When You're In Town", a reminder of friendship that's lasting and there for you when you need it. A theme expanded on in "The Edge Of The World" more up-tempo, love stated simply, building as the song progresses, everlasting, enduring, "things get better with age" a positive message matched with soaring instrumentation.
Track after track it continues to reward, the production by Joe Broughton, from whose "Conservatoire Folk Ensemble", Threaded emerged, is both clear and precise.
"Tale Of A Wyvern" is a toe tapping tune that one moment breathes fire and passion, Ning-ning Li's violin soaring, underpinned by guitar, before it switches and you envisage trying to creep quietly past without waking the beast, will it work? An adventure with a mythical dragon.
The final two tracks are instrumentals inspired by friend and poet Molly Rose, "Hidden Lights" takes a theme of "Moon Jellies that look like a tangle of ghosts, luminous in the deep dark waters". And in "Aspen Groves" you are transported to the "forests of Arizona", a choppy rhythmic fiddle, a finger picking guitar, a clarinet that is wilful and flighty, it sounds like a country jam might taste, sweet and full of unexpected flavour.
"Far Winds & Following Sea" is a mixture of self-composed tunes and songs under a loosely based banner of journeys undertaken or imagined. It follows on from their excellent debut "Of What We Spoke".
Overall, it's like sitting on a pebble beach, the waves breaking on the shore. You could be there forever, you wouldn't mind, you never want to leave that magical place. You don't have to. Just hit the loop button. Threaded, please pass the sun cream, my summer holiday music is here.
|Ani DiFranco: Binary||Jaskane: Lumen|
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