For those who have been following the career of Alisdair Roberts since Appendix Out, the critical success of Farewell Sorrow comes as no surprise, but for me at least, the album itself was completely unexpected.
Unlike Appendix Out, which mixed pop elements with more traditional folk, on his own (although much of the band seem to have come along too) Roberts concentrates more on his folk influences, presenting a set inspired by the British folk tradition, which he earlier celebrated in his acoustic covers album The Crook Of My Arm. The results are extraordinary, the sort of tracks which raise goosebumps with a single chord, let alone that voice of his.
The first five tracks are almost flawless, Farwell Sorrow and Join Our Lusty Chorus kicking things off gently and then the glorious, lively Carousing doing exactly what it says on the tin. Best of the lot is the (slightly worrying) I Fell In Love, which takes the Grey's Anatomy approach to romance, while the haunting I Went Hunting will stay with you for days.
Generally, I'm not really a fan of folk music, but Farewell Sorrow defies any genre labels that critics might throw at it, if you don't like folk music, you'll still like this. Trust me when I say that Mr Roberts is going to be here for a while.