Sweet England is nothing short of brilliant - not only because it has breathed new life into some of the most worn out songs from England's traditional back catalogue by gently but most effectively rearranging the songs using the best that modern-day technology has to offer while resisting the temptation to overuse 21st century sounds for the sake of it, but also because in creating this beautiful album Jim Moray has stirred up a debate which has revealed the true colours of many in the folk world.
Staid folk message boards which used to trundle out uninspiring threads about meeting times at the next folk festival have, have come alive with debates on whether this album is an afront to folk music or a revolution we should all join. Quite a feat for an album made by a 21 year old in his bedroom on equipment he was learning to use while recording.
The most traditional of traditionalists have balked at the media coverage the album has received - arguably the most coverage ever received for a debut album of English folk music. It has been everywhere - Guardian, Telegraph, Times, you name it, they seem to love it. But this it would seem means that Mr Moray has 'sold his soul', no longer qualifies as a true folk musician, and as such should be criticised for everything from his voice to his live performances, anything that will stop you thinking that this may in fact be as important a record as everyone from Radio 2's Stuart Maconie to Billboard's Paul Sexton say it is.
Personally I think that people outside the folk world are better qualified to judge this record as they are not bound by unwritten rules which hold that world together, ensuring the status quo in a community whose unchanging image reflects its approach to music as a history rather than as an art.
But if you are someone who eagerly anticipates the next Bowie, Radiohead or John Cale album because you want to see what new boundaries they are challenging this time, then you need to buy Sweet England.