Currently on tour with I am Kloot, Son Be Wise, is the recent release from Ralfe Band who have mastered the art of stringing together thrilling instrumentals to create music that is not stagnant and is full of explorations.
The opening track of the album, Ox is one that delights in the pleasures of travelling. If there was ever a need for an ideal road trip soundtrack I can’t help but feel that this would find its rightful place amongst any great playlist. Perhaps this can be attributed to the ‘nomadic’ lifestyle of Oly Ralfe; if you often find yourself on the road it is only fitting to write songs which compliment that lifestyle.
Ox also sets the scene for the compilation of buoyant songs that make up the first quarter of the album. Often there is a sense of bleakness and moodiness attached to folk music and its associating genres but with songs like Barricades succeed with filling any listener with a sense of optimism. The album is certainly not a collection of rhymes about sunshine and rainbows, but it is difficult not to find yourself drawn to the magical instrumentals. There is certainly a uniqueness that can be found in the overtones of traditional European folk which makes for easy listening. The first single from the album Come On Go Wild is certainly not lacking in optimism. It fills you with images of Hawaii in the sixties full of life and riches, beaches and fun. Perhaps this is true or down to a personal longing for some sunshine but either way, Come On Go Wild is full of charm, allure and pleasure.
The overriding theme throughout the entire album is the beauty found in the instrumentals. Filled with global influences and historical references, the instrumentals carry the album and give it a unique trademark which can be attributed to the band’s ability to delicately compose music in a way that brings romanticism to the way we view music and tradition. The instrumentals do overshadow the vocals in this album, the vocals of Oly Ralfe are not overly emotive which is refreshing as it means that the focus is shifted to the quality of writing and composition. However, it is hard not to sigh at the amount of potential that could have been explored further in the album. If the vocals matched the genius of the instrumentals and writing, the album would be very close to being perfect.
I had never listened to much of Ralfe Band’s music before and having listened to the album a number of times, I’m still left feeling indecisive. Maybe that is what you should aim for in a good album, after all to reach a state indecisiveness as a listener; it often means that you’ve stumbled across something new and refreshing. Or maybe not. One thing that is clear is that this is an album that takes more than a couple of listens to get stuck into.