Vicki Swan & Jonny DyerVicki Swan & Jonny Dyer
Album: Red House
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

"Red House" is one of those albums that I'm going to hold my hand up and say this review is a little behind the curve on, been playing and listening to it, but it escaped my notice that I never actually got around to reviewing it.

Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer have pretty much released an album every other year since 2002, with this being number six in the sequence. That regularity has enabled them to keep their sound fresh, to explore an album in the live arena and to discover new songs and influences for the next release and to always have a different sound for their audience to explore. On this album that sound includes the two stroke, single cylinder 1937 Bolinder engine of Tom Kitching's narrowboat Spey. Tom also makes an appearance or two in his own right.

Elderly technology aside, one area that I did notice coming through on "Red House" is a Scandinavian influence, a sound that you are starting to hear on more, essentially English, folk albums as well as in its more usual slot on Scottish albums.

There is a delightful combination of songs and tunes spread across the album featuring an extensive range of instrumentation, including pipes and fiddles, all of which helps deliver an album that continues to entertain and surprise, at least on the first few listens through, though admittedly after that the surprise may go, but the entertainment remains

There is also a fine balance of pace and texture across the album, something else that constantly ensures that there is a freshness that extends across all eleven tracks. . Similarly there is a blend of both traditional and contemporary folk sounds, making "Red House" an album that would make a great addition to any collection.

Neil King