Album: A Countryman's Favour
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

"A Countryman's Favour" is the second album from acoustic trio Piefinger, following on from the band's debut cut, "Where You Might Go" and bringing ten self penned numbers and a cover into their catalogue.

The choice of cover "The L And N", which for some reason drops the epithet "Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" is a bit of surprise bringing more on an Americana to what is otherwise an album recorded in a number of English folk and folk vernacular styles. That said it does slip very neatly into the album and is undisputedly a strong song that can be used to reflect the loss of mining communities right around the world.

It's followed by the most dark and macabre songs on the album "The Courage Of Molly McVeigh" which isn't so much a funeral song as full blown gothic horror played out in just over four minutes. It is an outstanding song and one more than capable of sending chills down your back. It also gives scope for your imagination to run riot.

There's double meanings aplenty in the songs, which allows them to flit from being a simply focused tale to a metaphor for wider aspects of life, "Stop This Train" being a great example, is it too much for me is it too much for us all, I want to get off, can I/we get off?

Piefinger, Jana Carpenter, Rachel Steadman and David Sherwood constantly change their position in lead vocals and harmonies further emphasising the differences between the delivery styles of the songs, ranging from an almost acoustic pop field, through contemporary folk and into a more traditional sound. Similarly the instrumentation, often stripped back to component parts, gives a real sense of focus to the sound.

"A Countryman's Favour" is an unusual album, at times you almost feel it's looking for its self and consequently a lot of discovery is hidden away in its depths. A grand listen by any standard.

Neil King

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