Seth Lakeman’s Word Of Mouth has toe-tapping quality but is at its best when the tempo slows

7 Feb


Seth Lakeman: Word of Mouth (Cooking Vinyl)

Facial hair is back in fashion and – surely a not-unrelated phenomenon – folk has returned to the mainstream. One of the prime movers in its resurgence, the beardless, boyishly good-looking Seth Lakeman, secured a Mercury Prize nomination for his 2004 album Kitty Jay, though it’s been a few years since he scaled the charts. His seventh LP is a strong collection of songs based on the lives of people from the multi-instrumentalist’s native south-west.

The album is rich in Lakeman’s characteristic frantic fiddling and charging rhythms, elements guaranteed to set feet tapping (The Wanderer, The Ranger). But he’s at his best when he slows the tempo and dares to bare all emotionally: Bal Maiden, with fine vocal ornamention from Lisbee Stainton, is a touching tale of 19th-century female copper miners, while Frank Kidson’s Portrait Of My Wife brings the album to a tenderly…

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