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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold, brassy and brave
I must confess at the outset that I am a fan of this band and so I was eagerly awaiting this new release. On first hearing it I thought it was not as immediate as their other albums. However, after a couple of days listening I am not disappointed. It is a rich, heady concoction. Some of the songs grab you immediately - eg 'Roll the Woodpile' Down' and '10,000 Miles'. Also...
Published on 17 Oct 2012 by P. C. Jowett

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Object lesson - see them live!
Brilliant band. Saw them live at Cheltenham and absolutely loved the gig - the CD is a much less satisfying experience.
Published 12 months ago by Art Mumma


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold, brassy and brave, 17 Oct 2012
By 
P. C. Jowett (mid Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Broadside (Audio CD)
I must confess at the outset that I am a fan of this band and so I was eagerly awaiting this new release. On first hearing it I thought it was not as immediate as their other albums. However, after a couple of days listening I am not disappointed. It is a rich, heady concoction. Some of the songs grab you immediately - eg 'Roll the Woodpile' Down' and '10,000 Miles'. Also loved the sad love song 'Betsy Baker', with its Beatlesque feel, from the first moment I heard it. Other songs take a few listens - they sound strange at first and then worm their way into your brain and won't let go. In this category I would put 'Old Dun Cow', 'What's the Life of Man' and the haunting (in every sense) 'The Wife of Usher's Well'. The choral arrangements in 'Usher's Well' remind me of Orffe's 'Carmina Burana' for some reason; but this track is my favourite - a real grower. 'Black Beetle Pie' is another track that takes a few listens - it is quite, quite brilliant in a bonkers kind of way.

There is so much to enjoy in these tracks - particularly the layers of vocals, although sometimes these almost overwhelm Jon Boden's lead. (Found I need to listen on really good headphones to get the best effect). There seem's to be so much depth and so much to discover from repeated listening. Another triumph - can't wait to hear it all live!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teetering on the brink, 23 Oct 2012
By 
J. Booth (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broadside (Audio CD)
Bellowhead are on the brink. Well, maybe they're on several brinks.
Firstly they are on the brink of crossover-mainstream success. This new album has broken records for first week sales of a (real) folk album. They get invited onto Jools Holland's Later with a full share, not the usual "one song, acoustic" token folkie. People are noticing.
But they're also on the brink of being too clever for their own good. Despite the fact that this is a very enjoyable, full of confidence blast of a collection, there are indications that there perhaps needs to be a little "reining in".
It all starts well enough. Byker Hill is given the sort of treatment you might expect and all is well. Unfortunately The Old Dun Cow (track two) doesn't fare so well. It feels like someone's come up with a great arrangement without having a song to fit it, and this old club favourite has been forced in like squeezing Cushy Butterfield into a size 8 strapless frock. It squeals like it hurts. Thousands Or More isn't quite so bad but the old Copper's might have pulled a face and tutted a bit.
The other brink they need to be watchful of is Jon Boden's vocal limitations. On more than one occasion he is buried under the power of all that brass and you have to be grateful they've printed the lyrics in the booklet. They do use the chorus more often which makes me wonder if there's another voice there that could take an occasional lead just for variety, but for an album that's been recorded at Rockfield Studio, famous for "Bohemian Rhapsody" amongst others, you might have thought they might have taken more care of the vocals.
Ok, so grumbles out of the way, there is much to like about this. Yes, really, I did enjoy it. Black Beetle Pies is joyous and creepy; The Wife Of Ushers Well is intoxicating as an eery chant; it shouldn't be possible to have so much fun with What's The Life Of A Man; and Lillibulero is pure Bellowhead party time. Whatever you may think of my reservations, you still won't find anything else quite like this and, if you turn it up loud, you'll still end up exhausted from foot-tapping and aching from grinning. Now, I need a breather. Where did I put my Unthanks cd?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderfully cheerful eccentric playful album, 17 Oct 2012
This review is from: Broadside (Audio CD)
I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Bellowhead, I have seen them play live a couple of times and I defy anyone to go and see them and not return happier for the experience, but have struggled a bit with their recorded material as it didn't quite capture the sheer exuberance of their live performances.

But I really think they have started to perfect things with their last couple of albums, by taking a different tack, not by trying to emulate their live performances, but by in a sense doing quite the opposite, dare I say it, as I am not too sure how the folk purist think of this, they have done this by focusing more on the production side of things. There seems to be greater level of more subtle orchestration on the last couple of albums, using a wider range of music instruments, I swear I even heard a touch of synthesiser in this new one! But it has not been to the detriment of their wonderfully eccentric and playful spirit or the integrity of their folk music heritage. Broadside is a really listenable album that pushes musical boundaries, I recommend you buy it and enjoy! I think they probably have to thank John Leckie for this gear shift.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy, happy days..., 16 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Broadside (MP3 Download)
Have been wanting some new Bellowhead for a while now and this'll do nicely! Loved every track on first listen - usually not a good sign, but still playing every one all the way through 3 days later. Would have liked a couple more instrumentals, but then, what could beat Sloe Gin? Go my Way and What's the life of a man have played in my head at work for the last two days and 10,000 miles is an instant singalong. Well done, Bellowhead - worth waiting for!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big band avant gard jazz soul meets folk rock prog blues!!, 15 Oct 2012
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Broadside (Audio CD)
Hopefully I have covered at least some of the genres that to my ears at least appear to have been poured into the making of this strange and wonderful album. Using instruments and styles that may not normally appear in "folk" music, Bellowhead have hit upon a unique amalgam that gives us music that entertains as much as it challenges. Where else are you going to find tuba (I think) clashing then blending with clattering, banging drums, raucous brass and swirling strings? It is also music that rewards persistence and repeated listening as there are so many layers that need to be discovered and savoured long after the first listen through. By taking traditional music on such a journey Bellowhead are making music that is actually at the cutting edge and deserves to have a larger audience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it on the first listen!, 25 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Broadside (MP3 Download)
Only discovered Bellowhead after hearing Roll the Woodpile Down on radio 2. I then went and downloaded Hedonism and Broadside immediately. Since then I've been listening to them non-stop. My kids all enjoy them too (ages 13, 11, 10 and 8). My daughter asked what sort of music was it? I answered, It's just great music!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Bellowhead album, 10 Nov 2012
This review is from: Broadside (Audio CD)
I was late in discovering Bellowhead ('New York Girls' hooked me) but after buying Hedonism & then seeing them live there was no turning back. They haven't made a bad album yet but this one is a real statement of intent. They've gone for a BIG sound & in my opinion this is probably the nearest they have come to capturing the WOW factor of their gigs. I am not going to single out individual songs as my favourite keeps changing but there is a good deal of variety here & enough to keep you listening from start to finish without a weak link. They continue to push the boundaries & will no doubt upset some of the folk purist snobs but they have taken this music into the top 20 & if it reaches a wider audience why should that be a bad thing?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aaah That's better, 19 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Broadside (Audio CD)
Having seen them twice this year and going to see them at the Lowry next month there is no doubt that they are at their best live. BUT - the intricacy and theatricality of their arrangements can get lost in their live fervour. Not on this CD. I have been waiting for recorded material since Hedonism and this doesn't disappoint. The clever and witty arrangements are so tight that their musician's craft comes to the fore. Like any Bellowhead CD you get a tune in your head immediately( currently Lillibulero) but as you get to know the CD other favourites will grow on you. As ever there are bonus tracks not available on the basic CD but join their mailing list and you will get them as Christmas presents on down the line.

Don't hesitate BUY this and go and see them Live. OR Go and see them live and you will BUY this!

Really looking forward to seeing them at the Lowry in November -Fantastic Job Lads and Rachael
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 18 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Broadside (Audio CD)
Another great, theatrical Bellowhead cd. Folk with guts & fire. I look forward to seeing Bellowhead perform these songs live!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Classic Bellowhead CD, 20 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Broadside (Audio CD)
The mixxture of styles on this album keeps you listening too it. In the car just leave it on play all day long.
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Broadside by Bellowhead (Audio CD - 2012)
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