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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you're not into folk you will love this
This is the third album from Bellowhead. For anyone who hasn't got their earlier albums this is a great album to start with, being more accesible than Matachin.
It has a really good balance of highly danceable instrumentals and songs you can't help singing along to in the car with some beautiful slower tracks. Jaque Brel's Amsterdam works really well as a Bellowhead...
Published on 8 Oct 2010 by R. M. Nash

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Third (and a half) Album
A great fan of Bellowhead, I'm not as impressed by this album as I was by the previous 2. Sure, there are some excellent tunes - Cross Eyed and Chinless is typical of the humour they show, Little Sally Racket and A-Begging are fine.

I'm not as impressed by this album as I was by the previous ones (all of which I have). For saying that, I'm judging them by...
Published on 30 Jan 2011 by Mark Whitehead


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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you're not into folk you will love this, 8 Oct 2010
By 
R. M. Nash (Taunton, Somerset, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
This is the third album from Bellowhead. For anyone who hasn't got their earlier albums this is a great album to start with, being more accesible than Matachin.
It has a really good balance of highly danceable instrumentals and songs you can't help singing along to in the car with some beautiful slower tracks. Jaque Brel's Amsterdam works really well as a Bellowhead track.
The production by the great John Leckie works really well, giving a crisp lively sound that is as close as they could get to the fun of their live performaces in the studio. The arrangements make the most of their wide range of instruments and the talents of all eleven members of the band. A special mention has to be made of Pete Flood's wonderful percussion which drives the music along and is always interesting and often unusual, but always effective.

For those who have got the earlier albums and EP, you will know what to expect, but it is not just more of the same or Burlesque vol 2. The band have continued to develop amd have put together a top class album with no weak tracks or fillers, but plenty of variety and most importantly lot's of fun. You can't help but wish you were at the recordings as not many albums put across such a strong sense of the fun of making music.

They year may not be over yet, but this must be a contender for album of the year.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another floor breaker!, 4 Oct 2010
By 
S.R.J "ssocialdrummer" (Huddersfield) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
Oh wow! From the outset I can feel the power of Bellowhead , more brass laden than previous albums giving a bit more umph! Which, as I have waxed on about before, is only really evident at live performances.

This summer has seen many an ear turned to the folky tunes of Mumford and Sons, yes its ok but positively lightweight compared to B'head, possibly the best folk act this side of everywhere ,(other than Lau that is!)

The album picks up and turns a corner slightly from where Matachin left off. It's still very trad with fun and pazzaz , but somehow brighter and more vibrant than previous albums. Matachin was at times a tad dour, nonetheless wonderful but arguably the most difficult of their three albums.

I actually thought that Matachin would be THE album to launch them into the stratosphere, I think it did but not as ballistically as I suspected, they have garnered a huge following since, partly due to Tv appearances and treading the boards up and down the country to euphoric audiences.

I have to confess when I heard Mr Leckie was producing this one I trembled a bit, fearing the folk would be lost amidst an array of technical wizzadry, no fear, its still B'head, its still great folk tales with fabulous, almost orchestral arrangements of the panoply of instruments at their command-witness the vocal arrangement on `Broomfield Hill', with gorgeous refrains of horn holding you back until the track takes off with Jons vocals at the forefront and gorgeous harmonies alongside, so far my favourite track on the album.

And by way of demonstrating their incredible versatility they throw in a jazz laden track-`The Hand Weaver.......', danceable, fun and chocked full of mood and tempo changes.

The album, recorded in two weeks at Abbey Rd, captures the power, delicacy, intricacy and warmth of B'head, which is no mean feat when you consider at times there are 11 musicians belting out their music. It was, and feels like, an album almost recorded live, the only element it doesn't really capture is the occasional anarchic feel of live performances (although the track 'Little Sally Racket'comes pretty close), but it is after all a record not a gig.

Drawbacks-well musically none, the songs are a blend of old reworked ancient folk tunes with a smattering of the new, but I have to say `Yarmouth Town' offers nothing new or varied, it's a little bit of a plod along song, even if well played it is one of the few songs on the album that doesn't have a fairly complex arrangement.

The stories of B'head fans breaking concert floor halls with their vigorous dancing are now reaching legendary status. Well from the outset track 1 -`New York Girls' is an absolute floor stomper-concert promoters beware!

A fabulous album which will attract more fans, if the sales of tickets for new tour is anything to go by they are gonna be a big band in more ways than one.
Just buy it ok!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really nice surprise, 6 Oct 2010
This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
I'll admit it - I took a punt on this one after reading a review in the papers that wasn't entirely complimentary because I was intrigued.

What can I say - I've never really listened to folk music at all, never wanted to. This album is absolutely brilliant - the sound is a bit like the sort of thing you get with Amy Winehouse's band, like a big band sound with modern production. But it's also like some of my favourite prog rock albums from the 70s - clever and unexpected and goes off on a tangent sometimes to keep you interested. It isn't really folk music at all although some of the songs are folk songs underneath all that.

I'm just getting bogged down in it now - it's exciting, fresh and although I said it was clever - it's really easy to listen to. And fun - it's fun too.

I'm off to get everything else they've done - it's that good!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hedonism - Bellowhead's "difficult third album", 5 Oct 2010
This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
Having made two (and a half) albums previously, it was time for Bellowhead to attempt the "difficult third album". Their difficulty is compounded by the fact that they have a stunning live sound which has always been hard to replicate. The task of helping them went to John Leckie and he, and they, have succeeded in spades. From the opening track, a hugely infectious rendition of New York Girls - a story of a sailor who loses out to a lady of the night - through a number of songs and tune sets, including a deeply melancholic Amsterdam (Jacques Brel's tale of sailors on shore), right through to the crowd-pleasing Yarmouth Town, there is a sense of the disolute, the slightly seedy mixed with the pleasure of making music and loving life. It captures the joie de vivre of a live set. Take care if you're listening in the car; all that jumping up and down could be dangerous!

Keep it up guys!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only buy one album this year - this should be it!, 6 Oct 2010
This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
The one thing all Bellowhead fans (and I'll admit upfront I'm one!) will say about their albums is that they haven't quite managed to translate both their incredible musicianship and energy from their live shows - until now that is!

This album grabs you by the throat right from the opening track of "New York Girls" and doesn't let you go for one minute.

John Leckie has done a wonderful job of translating the incredible sophistication of the arrangements whilst keeping the real drive they have - this really works as a record.

The sublime "Broomfield Hill" is a personal favourite but there really is something for everyone here from the insane "Little Sally Racket" to the sheer unable to stand still and listen to "Parson's Farewell". If you love good music, played well then you will not be disappointed.

A big jump forward for them and if there is any justice in a generally deaf world this will sell and sell and sell. A real joy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Third (and a half) Album, 30 Jan 2011
By 
Mark Whitehead (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
A great fan of Bellowhead, I'm not as impressed by this album as I was by the previous 2. Sure, there are some excellent tunes - Cross Eyed and Chinless is typical of the humour they show, Little Sally Racket and A-Begging are fine.

I'm not as impressed by this album as I was by the previous ones (all of which I have). For saying that, I'm judging them by the exceptionally high standards they have set themselves; if anyone should wish to buy this for me as a gift, I'd be delighted!

Having said all that, it sounds a really good album - I'm just judging them in the light of their usual excellence.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crash, bang, wallop what an album, 5 Oct 2010
By 
Biggles (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
Just listening to it a second time. Its great. I had a good feeling about this album having heard some of the tracks live when I saw Bellowhead in the summer. The album does not disappoint in any way. In particular New York Girls and Cold Blows the Wind are stand-out tracks for me but if you like the previous stuff from them you'll love this. If you have not heard them before buy it anyway.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!, 4 Oct 2010
This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
I was actually nervous before listening to this album. Bellowhead are an amazing live band & I don't feel that the previous two Albums have captured the energy and excitement. Just listening to Hedonism now with a huge smile on my face though - I think they've managed it this time! I was also a bit worried that the band may go stale, sticking to exactly the same format to please the fans. There is plenty new in this album though and I think that with the great reviews it has recieved in the mainstream press, a lot new fans will be born....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hedonism: Bellowhead - A hedonistic wall of sound, 13 May 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
The third album release from the mighty Bellowhead is yet another classic.

Fronted by the gods of modern folk revival, Spiers and Boden, and combining the talents of a range of superb musicians, this is a band who can (and do) work in a wide variety of musical idioms with a rich musical palette to draw from. The band's sound is rooted in folk traditions, but they also use jazz, blues, classical and any other stylings they feel a song needs.

Being such a large group there is always a lot going on in any track, and I can only describe the result as a wall of sound. It's an infectious upbeat sound that will have you up and doing some jigs and reels in no time. Another absolute joy of an album, and I look forward to future releases.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun on the outer edges of folk convention, 5 May 2011
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This review is from: Hedonism (Audio CD)
There's no doubt about it: You have got to see Bellowhead play live. That's when you really get the sense of fun and theatre which accompanies these songs, and this album takes on a whole new dimension after that.

For me, Bellowhead seem to hit the same switch that makes me enjoy the Pirates of The Carribean movies: A theatrical, hammed-up take on folk culture, packed with stories of wenches, thieves and seafaring antics. If there was ever such a genre as punk-folk-jazz, this is it - the truly incredible talent of all those musicians just itching to break away from convention at any given moment. Now and then in almost every track, they do just that - they veer away from the expected into delightful little moments of madness before coming right back to where you will be waiting for them with a smile on your face.

There is some debate as to whether this album is better than their previous one, Matachin. I personally think they both contain a selection of equally excellent tracks, but the best course would be to get both and then combine the very best from both on a playlist, because both albums have just one or two moments which are almost but not quite the same standard as the very best songs among them. And if you take that advice, add a few from Burlesque, too ('Across the Line' and 'London Town' are both wonderful songs in very different ways). If you like your music with it's tongue planted firmly in its cheek, buy this album, and Matachin, too. Oh, and go see them play live.
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Hedonism
Hedonism by Bellowhead (Audio CD - 2010)
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