Roving CrowsRoving Crows
Album: Deliberate Distractions
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10

From the opening notes of "Deliberate Distractions", you know you are going to dive into an album that lives up to its name because I would defy anyone to try and carry out in the most menial tasks whilst having this album on in the background.

"Jouneyman's Blues" that opening track really sets the scene for what is about to come, nailing the gap between folk and blues and then adding a layer of rock over the top, it immediately screams out, 'listen to me' and you really do find yourself compelled to do just that.

Roving Crows have expanded to a five piece. Bass and drums, Loz 'Lzr' Shaw and Tim Tolhurst respectively, provide an engine to power the dynamics of vocalist Paul O'Neill, fiddler extraordinaire, Caitlin Barret and the brass section, Greg Wilson-Copp, cornet.

O'Neill has theatre as well as music in his blood, which may go a long way to explaining the old time, almost musical element to Roving Crows, proper music hall, in the local theatres, miles away from the cultured 'good old days' presentation, but don't make the mistake of assuming you are listening to a band that is all froth and no coffee, far from it, there it a bitter double espresso waiting for the unwary.

That's one of the things that have always impressed me about Roving Crows, is the way that the narrative never gets overlooked. Even as the dart and crescendo they are adding in the textures that emphasise the meanings of the songs. Musically they also seem to box above their weight, creating a veritable wall of sound that would make Phil Spector proud, something that they achieve live as well as in the studio setting. Roving Crows can be as politically biting as they are dispensing relationship advice.

"Deliberate Distractions" is their best album to date, which considering some of the predecessors, isn't an easy thing. They've pretty much thrown everything at this album, including the kitchen sink and whilst the album is a real whirlwind of a release, including a calming eye in the middle, somehow, almost miraculously everything finds its place, just don't bother trying to do anything else whilst listening, well except letting yourself go.

Neil King