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MUSIC Album reviews with Ian Sinclair

Latest releases from The Weather Station, Jim Ghedi and Grandbrothers

 

The Weather Station
Ignorance
(Fat Possum)
★★★★

TO PARAPHRASE Woody Allen, Tamara Lindeman’s latest album is proof that a true artist is like a shark — they have to constantly move forward or they die.

So while Loyalty (2015) and the self-titled The Weather Station (2017) were sublime records that put the Toronto-based singer-songwriter in a class all of her own, Ignorance is a significant shift away from the indie folk she made her name with.

The songs here often have a clear linear structure, built around straightforward dance and rock beats. She has landed on a bigger, perhaps more conventional sound, that reminded me of a little of Eleanor Friedberger’s Last Summer album.

Written in the shadow of reading the IPCC’s 1.5°C report on the climate crisis — “the deepest emotional experience I had that winter,” she says — it’s another brilliant and beguiling set from Lindeman.

Jim Ghedi
In The Furrows Of Common Place
(Basin Rock)
★★★★★

HAVING mastered the art of instrumental folk guitar on his previous two records, Sheffield-based Jim Ghedi finds his voice on his new album.

Apparently, this change was driven by a need to say something about where “we find ourselves … socially and politically.”

So while the music and vocals hew closely to the style of folk revivalists like Martin Carthy and Bert Jansch, the lyrical focus is often on contemporary concerns.

The mammoth Stolen Ground laments modern-day austerity, while Ghedi says the John Clare-inspired The Lamentations of Round Oak Waters feels connected to Sheffield council’s controversial programme of felling the city’s trees.

There’s a real sense of urgency to proceedings, with Ghedi and his band — playing guitar, violin, harmonium, double bass, drums, trumpet and flugel — creating a thrilling cacophony on Common Thread and Beneath the Willow.

Superb.

 

Grandbrothers
All The Unknown
(City Slang)
★★★

SINCE forming in 2012, Grandbrothers have made their name with an extraordinary skill: everything you hear on their first two records comes from one grand piano played by the classically trained Turkish-German musician Erol Sarp, which is then manipulated by Swiss engineer and producer Lukas Vogel to create wonderfully rich soundscapes.

On their instrumental new album the duo make a conscious effort to move beyond this, adding electronica and studio trickery into the mix.

The result is sometimes startling, as with the frenetic electronic pulses that kick off Black Frost, and often positively euphoric.

This is no accident — Sarp has a close affinity with dance music, as evidenced on the title track and the Balearic opener Howth.

Full of big, propulsive music with a pensive edge, grab your headphones, or dance shoes, and marvel at the talent of Grandbrothers.

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