I heard the album straight through for the first time last night. First impressions?...Hmmm...not a record that grabs you by the throat the moment you hear it. Further airings today have helped shaped what I hope is an objective review. First of all,my favourite Seth Lakeman album by far is Freedom Fields. That grabbed me straight away and was a constant fixture in the CD player at home and on the road. Kitty Jay was a close runner and Seth's debut album was short but sweet. I found Poor Man's Heaven the weakest of the bunch and at the moment, Hearts and Minds is PMH part two.
It's impossible not to enjoy a Seth Lakeman offering...that swirling fiddle,sharp guitar and Mandolin, crisp percussion rounded off by the distinctive voice. Of course as a live artist he is the real deal.However, getting back to the new album in question- which I'm listening to again as I write- no single track jumps out like Kitty Jay, The White Hare, Riflemen of war etc. All very workmanlike, musically competent, lyrically not that strong and mixing the trade mark up tempo jigs with ballads.
Seth has certainly become something of a poster boy for the Folk movement and as such has become a distinctive cross over artist, appealing to a wider Rock/Indie audience.
It's good...it's just not that good. The title of the review says it all...'workmanlike'.