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CHURCHFITTERS - Amongst The Green

CHURCHFITTERS - Amongst The Green
Private Label CH2762

This fourth release from the present Churchfitters quartet maintains their consistent high quality and further cements their characterful originality. In its nine songs and two instrumental pieces, it again captures some of the energetic verve that is so appealing in their memorable live stagecraft.

Fundamental to their distinctiveness is Rosie Short’s voice and vocal flexibility, gifted multi-instrumental contribution (flute, tin whistle, banjo, guitar, soprano saxophone, ukulele, dulcimer and percussion), clever poetic writing (as typified by the pleasing compression, rhythms and rhymes of Strange Stones, and the magical mystery of Amongst The Green), and delightfully verdant artwork that graces the CD.

Their increasingly recognisable sound owes much too to carefully composed arrangements that employ interesting chordal structures and a wide rhythmic range and sonic spectrum from their instrumentation. Bassist Boris Lebret’s use of an array of frequencies to rumble, burble, throb and thrum is certainly a prominent characteristic. Chris Short’s fiddle and Topher Loudon’s guitar/bouzouki work also contribute significantly to the varied dynamics, textures and soundscapes enabling the band to discretely combine elements of progressive rock, funk, and jazz in their skilful animation of the songs.

The rearrangements of traditional material (The Little Drummer; Black Is The Crow; The Dark-Eyed Sailor) are again very successful – in a way one easily recognises, as say, with Steeleye Span - and the coda Somewhere Over The Rainbow, rich with banjo and musical saw, befits their penchant for being quirky. The song New Hide is a slightly lesser offering, somehow short of their usual standard of sophistication. However, this minor criticism aside, this latest album is another excellent addition to their discography.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 93 of The Living Tradition magazine.