From the opening acoustic drone of "Animal Skins" to the explosive, percussive, conclusion of "Lion's Den," this is one of the most immediate and powerful records of the last few years. An album written as a single work of art, with careful thought given to how the songs fit together and the story that they tell.
The production gives it a consistent sound without ever becoming samey- the songs clearly belong together but there is nothing monotonous about the record. It helps that Peter Liddle is a extraordinarily deft lyricist, his songwriting stepping between emotional honesty and obscure reference with a rare and precious agility. The musicianship throughout is excellent - the strings and guitars soar through the songs, the rhythm section know when to thunder and when to whisper and there are moments of beautiful layered choral harmonies.
Over the years I have enjoyed a lot of artists that get classified as "Americana" but as an Englishman with a real interest in my own cultural identity what I really wanted to hear music that brought that attitude to this side of the Atlantic. In this album, pastoral and spacious, by turns sweeping, tender and wild, I am hearing exactly that. Anglicana, you might say. Or listening to these vocals like a world-weary Jeff Buckley and borrowing a pun famously coined by a 6th Century pope: Angelicana.