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HOSEPIPE BAND "Landside" KM Records kmcd6665

This four-piece Colchester-based band's CD sleeve features a Pete Brown monochrome photo capturing the bleakness of East Anglia's coastline. The music, however, is of a style once described to me as "Eurofolk", although unusually, there's nothing from Ireland!

"Landslide" is an original and inventive effort, largely of tunes by band members. Val Woollard's own title tune is a funky jazz item worthy of Dave Brubeck - the band use it for "Nottingham Swing", a sight I'd love to see someday!

There's a distinct Breton sound at times, although Simon Haines' one-row(?) melodeon is very English. The hornpipes dedicated to Will Atkinson are tuneful and rhythmic, and if the old maestro hears them, I'm sure he'll be honoured, the tunes are good enough.

It's unusual to hear the recorder outside of Junior 4 but it's here, ably picked out by Nick Sadler's fetching bass guitar, and creates a distinctly medieval feel on tracks like "Sloti Sloti" (?). Incidentally, if The Hosepipe Band entered a contest for quirky tune titles, they'd waltz it! How about "Carrot", "O Vaughan and Doughty Maiden" and "Handkerchief Heaven", a Geoff Coombs Hebridean-flavoured original?

There are some Rumanian tunes, learned in the "Victoria", Holloway Road - it must have changed since I was there, mind you a few "precious" Irish accompanists could learn from Nick Sadler's solid bass style!

It's all well performed and arranged, although I waited in vain for Geoff Coombs' promised vocals; a song would have varied the menu nicely!

One last thought, this quest for musical originality in newer bands has to be laudable, but maybe, just maybe, it needs to be served up with some less introspective material (no, I don't mean the "Wild Rover!") - it might help us all to remember our roots - there's little sense of location here, which is a pity.

Jim Bainbridge

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This album was reviewed in Issue 34 of The Living Tradition magazine.