“The idea was to go back to song writing in its simplicity, based around nostalgia and the idea of ‘home'” – these are the words of lead singer Matt Lowe of Keston Cobblers Club, on their new release, Almost Home. Its that excitable feeling of going back to what you know and love.
The title track is an upbeat opener that will lure new and old KCC fans alike. It’s a part of the first three numbers (Almost Home, Concord and Bicycles) that seem to sum up the band – all ingredients are there. Concord strips it back with a simplistic banjo throughout and minimalist drumming ‘building to an orchestral crescendo,’ as Matt tells us. Bicycles adds the indie-folk element with intense harmonies over a catchy composition. Thankfully these components stick together throughout. It’s a recipe for success, especially when Jules highlights her dreamy vocals by taking lead on Demons, which is catchy until your heart’s content, as Matt’s vocals blend throughout.
Going back to the original meaning of ‘folk music,’ Martha & Giles is based on a story from 1692, about their deaths defending themselves of witchcraft. The guitar work lends itself to that traditional folk feeling too, with Bethan’s added tuba towards the end marking a perfect piece of folklore. Forrest Hill is equally engaging, from the opening chimes to the whimsical vocals.
Then to the opposite end of the scale and not so much folk at all, as a funky ditty that makes you almost want to samba as soon as On Your Own kicks in and Hand That Feeds You follows not long after. The latter opens like the opening of Dirty Dancing, before Winning brings back a little Caribbean flair, where a few whooping ad-libs wouldn’t go a-miss. Even An Island, brings on the funk at the start of the track. These songs are spread evenly across the album so you don’t get lost in that sound and are always kept on your toes.
The folk is definitely apparent and it is a beautiful ending to Almost Home with All I Need. The piano is hypnotic and when the drums kick in, it is like a pulsating heartbeat. And listen for that little bit of heavy breathing – you might miss it but it brings a surprise element before we are put under a spell of enchanting electronics, to see out a wonderful record from Keston Cobblers Club.