Even when favourable, comparisons are nearly always received awkwardly. Indeed, these comparisons can be even more awkwardly received if the artist being compared to has only just vacated their seemingly invincible and impenetrable lofty spot.
However, when you compare a band or their latest album that you like to a band that you don't particularly crave, then that artist has transcended that comparison - it is now just a point of reference instead.
So it is with Mawkin, the thinking man's Bellowhead (RIP) and particularly with The Ties That Bind.
This album sounds assured, acomplished and there is an energy present that clearly demonstrates a passion and enjoyment that was there throughout is creation.
Standout tracks for me are "Wreckers" and "Searching For Lambs", and to coin a phrase, there really is something for everybody. As this is an album of traditional songs, trad lovers will be kept happy with the faithful re-workings, yet others who may like a more contemporary feel, will equally be happy. This really is a fabulous 'beginners guide..' to where folk is in the UK right now. Great story-telling, less manic than some and a real return to form for a band that promised so much in their early years, but due to circumstances often out of their control, didn't always deliver.
For those already lamenting the recently departed (but not gone completely) Bellowhead, then dare I say, look no further than "The Ties That Bind". However, fans of Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin, Gilmore & Roberts and The Demon Barbers XL will not be dissapointed either.
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