Ben Walker And Chris KnowlesBen Walker And Chris Knowles
Album: Of Glory And War
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

Before I get into the full review proper, a quick clarification, the Ben Walker behind this release is the one from up North, rather than the one that can be seen performing alongside Josienne Clarke. Both are excellent instrumentalists, which makes the sharing of their name a tad problematic occasionally. Also a great instrumentalist and performer is Ben Walker's partner in crime on this release, Chris Knowles.

One of the things that I like about "Of Glory And War" is the way the title puts a distance between glory and war and in this year of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, it's a very important distinction, not that you would expect anything less from the pen of Ben Walker, there is a reason why he's establishing a reputation as writer and arranger and well as musician and performer.

Like physical structures, it's often what looks the most fragile, that has the most strength, it's understanding that something which is solid can't always take the stress and strains of something that has been carefully built with gaps and silences. It's something that holds true regardless of the instrumentation that's used as the delivery mechanisms.

Be assured there are some very strong songs on "Of Glory And War", with "Keeping It White" creating plenty of opportunities for discussion, particularly on a casual listen, but that's one of the functions of music, even if, unfortunately, it might reduce the opportunity for airplay. The same is also true, though for different reasons, of "Laying My Rifle Down", a song that draws the starkest reference to the title.

The instrumentation on the album is at least as strong as the prose. Take away the voices and the words and you would still have a very strong album to explore and explore it you should for there is genuinely much to discover and think about.

Neil King