M.G. Boulter & The Froe. Blood Moon. Hudson Records

Clearing the way for a new year, some discs were retrieved from a dusty shelf which we really should have mentioned before. So, the next few posts won’t be topical but might remind folk of some albums which were and still are, well worth getting.

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First off is this excellent EP from the esteemed chronicler of the Thames estuary, M. G. Boulter, recorded with Birmingham string quartet The Froe in tow. Recorded in the historic Fishermen’s Chapel in Leigh-on-Sea, the disc finds Boulter’s delicate tenor vocals tenderly supported by darting violin and the woodier timbres of viola and cello. As on his well-acclaimed album, With Wolves The Lamb Will Lie, Boulter beguiles the listener with the beauty of the arrangements while he writes with some finesse on darker themes than one would expect from the bucolic settings.

Blood Moon swoons with a stained romanticism which bundles together Blake’s Albion, late night Texaco garages and the lure of the moon. It’s a wonderfully baroque song in a sixties folk manner which leaves the listener wondering if the protagonist is prowling the streets with murder on his mind. Frances Forlorn is darker in tone musically with the title character ploughing a similar furrow to that of Eleanor Rigby while Giving Up The Ghost is a most crepuscular song, the pizzicato strings creating a dusky insect chorus. The strings tiptoe delicately throughout Night Driving, a wonderful paean to driving on starlit ribbons of motorways in the pitch black with Boulter’s lyrics as evocative as some of W.G. Sebold’s ruminations. The EP closes with Boulter’s guitar and lap steel more upfront on Soft Light but again he evokes the allure of darkness with only distant circus sounds and moon reflected waves able to guide him. It’s a wonderfully fragile song which almost defies gravity.

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