Scottish band turns on electricityThe crashing drums, doomsday harmonium and tortured electric guitar
sound completely appropriate on Spoils’ “Hazel Forks”—remarkable,
considering that the Alasdair Roberts original possesses all the
hallmarks of a traditional folk ballad.
This is exactly what troubadour
Roberts accomplishes on his fifth solo album: He takes his homeland’s
countryside and plugs it into the 21st century. His voice and
fingerpicking tend toward the haunting, enduring folk melodies he’s
explored on previous albums, but the backing here ranges from a sweet
violin for “Under No Enchantment (But My Own)” to a percussive
thunderstorm for “Ned Ludd’s Rant (For A World Rebarbarised),” where
the players sound like they might’ve had too much to drink, as they
scramble through a progressive-rock instrumental patch. Despite the
cool harpsichords, glockenspiels, flutes and dulcimers, it’s Roberts’
mournful voice that leads the songs to their rightful resting places.Listen to Alasdair Roberts on MySpace.