May 6th will see the release of the new album I Can Not Sing You Here, But For Songs Of Where by Thirty Pounds of Bone on Glasgow’s Armellodie Records who state that:
“The record sees songwriter Johny Lamb further explore his continuing theme of place. Split into four separate locations; (past place, the place of heritage, present place and the in between), the record aims to articulate experiences of itinerancy and second-generation migrancy.
Throughout these songs, Johny adopts, appropriates and abuses forms of traditional music, with the hybridity that has previously gained him much praise from critics.
His take on a Veesik (a lost form of Shetland song), backed by a drone built from accordion and the machines used by boat builders (of Hays Dock in Lerwick), exemplifies this.”
The record is an accomplished piece of work which ebbs and flows nicely throughout its forty seven minutes. Starting off with the diametric pairing of the drone based Vesesik for the Broch mentioned above and The Truth of the Matter, which lulls the listener with the delicate sounds of ebbing water, guitar and banjo before letting loose with a soaring electric guitar chorus which kicks back into a distorted crescendo to bring the track to a close. It’s plain to see that I Can Not Sing You Here, But For Songs Of Where is not going to be a traditional folk album and that Thirty Pounds of Bone do not rely too much on the traditional folk template, but has its own rather distinct identity.
The results of Lamb’s song writing and lush vocals present an album that’s intensely close and personal, especially on the songs Home Faring, Mother This Land Won’t Hold Me, and How We Make a Mongrel of the Archipelago. At times the album offers up some warmth, The Snow in Keil, for example, is a romping, foot stomping tune that wouldn’t sound out of a place in a ceilidh and is over far too soon; but the overall feel of the album is one of melancholy consciousness which soundtracks the desolate, misty, coastal town it invokes in my imagination.
‘I Cannot Sing You Here’, But For Songs of Where’ has a cinematic quality to it that I haven’t heard in other alt-folk albums and deserves to be listened to, uninterrupted, from start to finish.
With bands such as Fleet Foxes and The Lumineers from across the United States gaining much recognition and success with their brand of new folk music it’s easy to forget that is a rich tradition of folk music on this side of the pond as well. If there was any justice Thirty Pounds of Bone would share some of those artists’ success; one gets the feeling however that Lamb is happy doing his own thing on his own terms. 8.5/10