The Awkward Recruit CD
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Not many bands can lay claim to being nominated for a prestigious BBC Folk Award, before they've even released an album but Mawkin:Causley can. Mawkin:Causley are brothers James and David Delarre, Danny Crump, Alex Goldsmith (all previously known as Mawkin) and widely acclaimed Devon singer, Jim Causley (Under One Sky / Devil's Interval).
With a heady mix of richly melodic vocals, melodeons, electric bass and acoustic guitar, they breath youthful vigour and considerable energy into their folk- inspired music. As a testament to the impact they have made in a very short time, after less than 18 months together, not only have Mawkin:Causley been nominated as BEST GROUP at the BBC Folk Awards 2009 but their music has appeared frequently on Radio 2, with a seal of approval from Bob Harris and Mike Harding, but also from the station usually more at home with indie rock artists, 6Music.
Despite this debut bringing together influences on the band from around the globe (there are continental twists, rhythms that hint at reggae and far from conventional instrumentation) `The Awkward Recruit' (Navigator) is ultimately an exuberant exploration of traditional English fare.
Mawkin:Causley have, between them, played over 50 UK festivals and have supported a range of well-regarded artists including Eliza Carthy, Show of Hands, Billy Bragg, Mr Scruff and more besides. With Jim Causley's rich voice, charismatic stage presence and a rare ability to shift between melodrama and great subtly, in a heartbeat, this barn-storming band are set to get noticed on a much wide-scale in 2009.
"Expectations are high: they were nominated for an award for best group even before the release of this, their debut CD. It lives up to the hype"
-- **** 4 stars (FT)
"Genuinely artful arrangements - mighty, provocative, yet admirably considered" -- **** 4 stars (Observer Music Monthly)
"Remarkably assured - such conviction and a true sense of their music's history" -- ***** 5 Stars (Uncut)
"Supremely confident - a serious album, of considerable weight" -- fROOTS
"Unconditionally Mighty" -- **** 4 stars (Mojo)
Mawkin:Causley deserve to be up there with Bellowhead as heroes of the new folk revival
-- Robin Deneslow - The Guardian
Top customer reviews
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Live, Mawkin:Causley are a great experience and the majority of their current set list features on this record. There is a peculiar dichotomy to this band and they way in which they approach `traditional' songs, taking olde English lyrics and blending them with contemporary noughties style melodies. It works well, who would imagine that you could hum along to a tune about slaughtering songbirds but that is what happens with the `Cutty Wren'. Death (and not just for birds) and war feature predominantly throughout the record but it plays more like a celebration than a funeral dirge.
The band should be congratulated on a fine record but mention must also go to Stu Hanna of folk duo Megson who produced the album and has really exploited the rich creamy vocal of Jim Causley ensuring it is never lost in the wonderful noises made by the Mawkin boys.
A number of pundits are already backing this record to win big at the next BBC Folk Awards. I would not bet against them.
If further proof is needed of their excellence the band was nominated for the BBC Folk Award before their debut even hit the shelves. When listening to the fantastically good `L'Homme Armé' it's impossible not to feel that this accolade isn't deserved. This first album is a magnificently concocted mix of well-balanced yet innovative tracks, a tremendous effort from a remarkable talent. `The Awkward Recruit' comes highly recommended from me, once bought you won't be able to stop listening. Enjoy.
Following on from last year's superb EP Cold Ruin, "The Awkward Recruit" is their first full-length release as a group. And what a "debut" it is. With styles veering all over Europe and beyond, encompassing bits of klezmer and snatches of French and Spanish (most noticeably on "L'homme Arme" and "Todos Los Bienes Del Mundo") the album has typical folky singalongs, such as the opening "Jolly Broom Man" and "Cropper Lads" and wordier pieces, such as the title track and the Causley-penned "Keeper of the Game". There are also more familiar pieces, such as "Cutty Wren" and "The Saucy Sailor" (made famous by Steeleye Span), but whatever the familiarity each song is approached with energy, vivacity and wit, enhanced by the spare, clear production of Megson's Stu Hanna.
This is so good that I suggest the lads clear some space on the mantelpiece to put those folk awards on when they come rolling in.
Its worth delving into (as a blues rocker I've found folk difficult for prolonged listenings), and they are well worth seeking out live.
There are no weak tracks on this CD and I would highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates good music. It is hard to believe that this is the band's debut full length release. Let's hope there's plenty more to follow!
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