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4.5 out of 5 stars
Revival
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2014
Another very strong album from Bellowhead. I share some of the thoughts of others on the change of the produced sound, but once you've got used to it 'Revival' is really quite addictive.

The band should be rightly proud of their live reputation, and I expect many of the tracks here will be very danceable and become live favourites, but this latest in a series of fine albums really should gain their recorded work more widespread recognition. Some people have commented 'Revival' is more commercial than its predecessors but I would argue that if a band can make songs about such things as the fate of 19th century American fighting ships accessible to a broader audience then they should be applauded.

Personal favourites are the thumping 'Roll Alabama', pacy 'Fine Sally' and the instrumental 'Jack Lintel', which you have to listen to quite carefully to appreciate the complex interplay of looping dance tunes. I love the sweeping ambition of 'Moon Kittens' and the dark 'Greenwood Side' , the machine-gun percussion at the end of Cajun-tinged 'RosemaryLane', the burst of brass midway through 'Let Her Run'. On the downside 'Bright Lights' is that rarest of things for me as a 'Bellowhead' track I really dislike.

I also think the track running order could have been better to allow a pause for breath after the first 3 tracks- as it is much of the contrast in intensity sits in the last 3 tracks. It's not the longest album and given some of the riches on offer on the bonus cd it is a shame one or two of them didn't make it onto the standard edition. Others have enthused about the bonus disc and it is indeed a must-have for fans of the band, even if some tracks offer little new or advancement on what we've heard before. 'Three Drunken Maidens' will hopefully one day make its way into the live set as it is in the spirit of the likes of 'London Town' which are still welcomed as the party songs that invariably have you leaving a Bellowhead gig happier with life than when you went in.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2014
Top bombing, can do no wrong, saw them at Ludlow Castle on Saturday, great. Even my wife who is massive folk sceptic (once fell asleep at a a Bert Jansch concert!!) loved it and currently has Revival in her car. I thought they would struggle to follow Broadside, which stands next to albums like Dark side, Frampton comes alive and Rumours as albums you have to have in your collection (whats an MP3?) but they have and more. Buy the 'deluxe' model as the 'extras' cd is great and includes Josephine, which I first heard Jon do solo in Hereford a few weeks ago. Great track. As well as great voice, fine fiddling and charisma, he's a really talented guirarist as well!.... git
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2014
Probably their slickest CD of many excellent albums. perhaps a bit too smooth for some. At first listening the excellent selection of content did sound a little "samey", but a few more plays brought out the subtleties of the arrangements. Just love them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2014
As seems to be the norm with Bellowhead they have followed up one slightly strange recording, their “Captain Beefhart moment” Broadside, with a more traditional recording in Revival.

The album contains a strong mixture of sea shanties, up tempo dance numbers and what I am indebted to another reviewer for terming “disco folk”. There is a slight tendency for some of the song arrangements to be Bellowhead by numbers but if this is your first Bellowhead album you will not realise this.

The drums and bass (tuba) are mixed right up front in most songs as if to make them more radio friendly. You’ll love it or hate it.

The first four songs are as strong as those off any Bellowhead album. Rosemary Lane (Scarborough Fair) gets the disco folk treatment and doesn’t quite work. A better example is the closing Greenwood Side which is the best track on the album. This infanticide stomper builds to a riff that could become Bellowhead’s Sister Ray moment if they want to extend it live.

The fifth * is lost to Moon Kittens which should really be sung by Shirley Bassey as a Bond theme, although it might be fun live, and a version of Bright Lights Tonight which emasculates the song in the same way that Cat Stevens did to Another Saturday Night. In fact it makes you realise they are pretty much the same song.

The first two tracks on the second disc on the deluxe edition are strong enough to replace these two and make it a five * album. However, the remainder tend to show the limitations of John Boden’s vocal range and if reviewed as a double album would bring it down to only ***.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2014
Having bought the "Deluxe" edition of Bellowhead's new album Revival, I have had the pleasure of listening and enjoying twenty tracks in total - the standard eleven tracks and the bonus nine made up of mainly "home demos", whatever they may be.
The new album is certainly the most accessible to date and seems to be more polished than previous and dare I say it, more commercial.
Quite a stirring start with Let Her Run, accompanied by driving drum beat - you know this is Bellowhead but recognise that this is a depart from the more folk infused tracks of previous albums.
Moon Kittens is a little psychedelic. Gossport Nancy, the first single, is wonderful but you already know that.
On the bonus CD, Three Drunken Maidens is sublime but the standout track on the whole album for me is Rake.
It is Bellowhead, but in a slightly different guise.
I love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 July 2014
I must confess, it has taken a few listens, but now I love it. I am pleased I brought the extended edition as there are some great songs on the second disc. Three drunken maidens in particular. Looking forward to the live shows.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2014
Addictive reimagined folk...Jon's voice fills each track with passion and a twist of irreverence. Love it...particularly good when listening in the car, Revival adds a caffeine-like perk to the morning slog. So it does what it says on the cover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2014
With their fifth album, Bellowhead prove that they are getting better and better, showcase their unparalleled versatility and expertise and provide listeners with a variety of songs and one instrumental. Their appeal is no longer confined to lovers of folk music (and I am not one), though their albums cannot compare to the sheer joie de vivre of their legendary live performances. I hope this will mark their breakthrough to mainstream popularity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2014
It's what one would expect from Bellowhead: vigorous, innovative, slightly chaotic. This band keeps on shaking up traditional music, which is exactly what is needed. Jon Boden's manic energy shows no sign of wilting and he inspires his collaborators to achieve impressive performances. It's an all-star band. Some of my friends hate Bellowhead but for me it's taking traditional music in the right direction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2014
The best live act going, lots of fun, dance tunes, songs with audience joining in.

The production doesn't deliver the real feel of a Bellowhead performance, a very corporate sameness is creeping in and originality is being lost.
Too much time in the studio is making Bellowhead albums dull, time for a Recorded Live At ...
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