Top critical review
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Style over substance?
on 20 March 2007
There are several really good tracks on this album - King and Country and The White Hare being real stand-outs. Then there others - Colliers, for instance - which feel contrived and are just not nice on the ear. This is probably down to the artist trying so hard to be `different', that in places he has ended up creating a dog's breakfast instead.
Overall, I'm slightly disappointed. Seth Lakeman has been massively hyped as The Next Big Thing on the folk scene. With his film star name and looks to match, a lot of people have desperately wanted to elevate him to be the male answer to the wave of highly successful young women singers of the last few years - Rusby, Carthy, Dillon, et al.
But for me, the reality doesn't live up to the promise.
I just don't think Seth has that great a voice. Comfortable enough on some tracks, in others his singing sounds distinctly strained and whiny. He also has this weird habit of randomly exaggerating the occasional flat vowel sound, in what I can only describe as David Essex moments. He does it in several numbers. And no, this is not his honest Devonian accent coming through - it's a vocal affectation which presumably Seth believes is cool, but is actually intrusive and naff. The effect is to undermine authenticity.
In summary, much of this album is very pleasant to listen to, but in places it feels a bit too contrived. Not what you expect from folk. Not even from studiedly contemporary folk.