All The Crooked Scenes is the long-awaited debut from Leeds quartet Ellen And The Escapades. Winners of Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition in 2010, the band has already built quite a following: their PledgeMusic campaign was fully funded in just eight days. With such a confident and accessible album, that following is sure to swell.
Although the band is thrown into the ever-expanding English folk world, Crooked Scenes draws more upon Americana and country traditions. Songs like Preying On Your Mind, Coming Back Home, and the album’s title track are expansive and hook-laden, rock-tinged rather than folk-reminiscent. It helps that Ellen Smith’s smoky tone is well-suited to epic (and definitely electric) moments—she more than holds her own over swirling guitar on songs like Cast and Yours To Keep. Smith is just as captivating on the album’s quieter offerings: delicate harmonies shine on Stone Bird, while I’ll Keep You Warm is intimate and assertive by turns.
It won’t take long before Ellen And The Escapades is a name on everyone’s lips. The album has the potential to bring them into the mainstream—and that’s not a bad thing. Though ‘accessible’ can be a dirty word in the folk world, it’s hard not to embrace the band’s first offering. All the Crooked Scenes is a warm and well-crafted debut, and it’s very worthy of wider attention.