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Music that grows under the skin of cattle

Haven't done one of these for a while, as the pile of cds is threatening to bury me alive probably should.

The next album in the pile is Warblefly's latest: Tenerife to Dover, which I bought after they stalked me through all the summer festivals. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but they were performing at Broadstairs and Wallingford. It's also not a bad album (to follow the exaggeration with an understatement).

Contemporary folk rock at it's finest, Warblefly sound like what might have resulted if the Pogues had decided to try their hand at the indie rock of the 90s/00s and by some miracle had managed to pull it off. This is an album which would happily sit on the shelf beside both contemporary folk and mainstream indie-rock.

Quite often when buying studio albums of bands seen live, the albums never seem to capture the energy of the live performance. Warblefly seem to be an exception to this rule however, with just as much power in their recording. Then again there are millions of them playing (well 8) and they do work together really well. They manage to get all the raw guitar power of some of the best modern rock band without overpowering the traditional instruments. The whole sound sits together without anyone of the players stealing all the limelight. Track after track they just launch themselves upon you as a whole, there's not a single weak song on the album.

There may be a strong influence of the Pogues which comes across in the album, but this blends with many other influences from far and wide. "Shoplifter" may be the only folk-rock-ska anthem I've ever heard, but it's certainly worthy of the title of the finest, and if you've never heard a Zappa influenced folk-rock instrumental "Axle Strumpet" is highly recommended.

The real highlights of the album are Sack of Seeds, which echos the epic songs of the likes of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, but with a contemporary edge; Shrimp Boy, which is like being sliced to pieces by fiddles and Underwater Breathing Competition, a morbid glam-slipjig with attitude.

At which point, I've probably enthused about them enough, so I'll just share a link to Underwater Breathing Competition on last.fm and mention the the rest of the album's on there too.

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