Glasgow’s Medieval folk collective return for their sophomore effort for Honest Jon’s (a record store and label based on Portobello Road in London) and there’s more olde tyme love songs to Merrie Olde England full of period instrumentation and Fairport-like arrangements. Swooning vocals from Lavinia Blackwall once again serpentine around strident brass, tinkling bells, baroque organ flourishes, and the occasional fiery guitar blast (courtesy newest member Mike Hastings). Many tracks feel like they should be belted out in the local pub after downing a few lagers and, as such, the album will appeal to fans of The Pogues, Gryphon, Ashley Hutchings’ Albion and Morris On bands, and other like-minded, nationalistic acts.
“September is The Month of Death” sounds like something that might accompany Henry VIII on a fox hunt, but then “Love Made An Outlaw of My Heart” two-steps its way across the dance floor on the back of the cleverly-disguised riff from “Help Me Make It Through The Night” (rumors have it that leader Alex Neilson and Blackwall ended their personal relationship shortly before recording the album). And the rousing closer, “You Are On The Bottom (And The Bottle’s On My Mind)” will clear the cobwebs and teardrops out of any jilted lover’s heart.
A little country, a little folk, smidgens of baroque, Medieval “earlie musik,” and the odd dirty, old garage rock guitar are tossed together into a kaleidoscopic stew that traverses many genres with equal aplomb. I’m glad to report there’s no “sophomore slump” rearing its ugly head around here. If you enjoyed the debut, this one has even more variety and will equally entertain, and you can catch them at Glastonbury in June. There’s even a vinyl edition available for you vinyl junkies out there! 8/10 -- Jeff Penczak (2 June, 2010)