on 20 January 2007
Recorded in the winter of 2006 , Lau's debut album is an hour of sublime anarchic folk music.This time you can believe the hype surrounding this release. Lau sound like men willing to redefine how a trio can sound, arming themselves with both highly original repertoire and some superb takes on traditional song. What strikes you is their fearless appetite for improv, some tunes dig deep into a wild array of genres taking in their influneces from around the world and spitting them out in a perfect folk -jazz stew !
Starting off with " Hinba" a supremely intricate mission statement for what is to follow, Lau's sophisticated arrangements add genuine emotion to their instrumentals whilst Kris Drever's singing on the three songs included " Butcher Boy" , " Unquiet Grave" and Ewan Maccoll's " Freeborn Man" match any song on his Album Of the year nomination " Black Water" ( indeed "Butcher Boy" with its additional words and arrangement could be the acclaimed Orkeny musicians most heart wrenching song yet.
The album is a testament to the skills of all three members, Aidan O'Rourke's playing shows you why he won Insrumentalist of the year at this seasons Celtic Music Awards as his fiddle guides and weaves the tunes into sensational climaxes - whilst Martin Green takes the Piano Accordion to places your ears can only dream of! Many albums tire at around 40 minutes but " Lightweights And Gentlemen" pulls you in all the way to the final hurrah ( bonus track " Twa Stewarts'). The bench mark for contemporary intrumental music is here by lifted several notches - Surely one of the greatest Folk releases in recent years and in time this could well be looked upon as a classic debut album. No guests, No frills just three of the finest young
artists working in traditional music today showing us what can be done when you keep one ear to the past and an eye on the future. BUY without hesitation.
Lightweights and Gentlemen: Lau - Lau show themselves to be gentlemanly musical heavyweights
This 2007 release is the first album from `folk' supergroup LAU. I put folk into inverted commas as they are so much more than that. Consisting of Kris Drever, Aidan O'Rourke and Martin Green, I genuinely think that they are one of the most exciting things on the music scene at the moment.
My wife and I first came to Lau through Kris Drever - we had been exploring some Roddy Woomble albums, and had been captivated by Drever's voice on `Before the Ruin'. We got his two excellent solo albums, and then realised he is also part of a group, so we started to get these albums as well. And what an amazing set of albums these guys have produced!
The sound of Lau is made up of Drever's guitar and vocals, Green's accordion and O'Rourke's fiddle. They are rooted in the folk traditions of the British isles, but are pretty experimental and boundary pushing. This debut album is more traditional than their later works, but there is still very much a feel of pushing the boundaries and trying out new musical ideas. With a great mix of jigs and reels, contrasted with slow melancholic essays on life and love, the three mesh together to produce an amazing sound. I have never heard an accordion pumped quite as hard as this, there are times when you fear Green is about to burst the bellows, then suddenly you are into a sweet passage with Kris Drever's simple and beautiful singing completely entrancing you. Then back to a ferocious jig, and O'Rourke's fiddle strings threatening to spontaneously combust with the friction from his frantic and impassioned bowing. It's a real delight of an album, 5 stars.
I loved this album from start to finish, 5 stars.
on 30 August 2007
I'm not one for writing reviews-so sorry if this is short and to the point,
after seeing them live well what can you say about this album....simply that all the songs/tunes from the jigs to the mellow songs are just brilliant.
Play this to someone who thinks folk is all "old men singing with beards"and lets see how they react to this!
Could this be a contender for best folk album of the year? oh yes!
on 19 February 2014
Wonderful, intricate, exciting stuff. Sometimes hard to believe there are only three guys playing. Takes 'folk music' to a new level. I've now played it about ten times straight (while on washing-up duty) and I still want more --- something new to hear every time.
on 2 March 2007
Now and again a certain new band will just blow you away and having already seen the mighty Lau perform, this debut release was very eagerly anticipated. No need to delve deep into every track enough to say it is a stunningly inventive exciting collection from this super talented trio.
It's unfair to single out anyone but Aidan O'Rourke is sheer class.