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E2K "If Not Now" Topic Records TSCD538

Some bands I'm glad to say have the ability to re-invent themselves and E2K are just one such example. Ok, so they might have possibly lost a little of their once recognisable sound (in their Edward II days) but in doing so, they have matured into a slick running machine that the folk scene should embrace with welcoming arms. Kellie While plays a major role in the new band's sound and you should be in no doubt that this lady can really provide the goods when required. Let's start with the opening track 'Come And Join Us' which for want of a better term is I suppose E2Ks own Calling On Song. The tightly picked rhythm guitar (think Paul Simon's Gracelands album here), melodeon, bass and shuffle style drums are topped by the rich tones of the horn section leading the way for the minor/major key change. I don't know why but the overall arrangement reminds me somewhat of a Songs Of Praise number and that's not intended to be a derisory comment. Anyhow, the flow of the introduction leads nicely onto 'The Shepherd And The Crows'. Due to the nature of the sleeve layout I'm assuming that this number was penned by band member Neil Yates and not WB even though the lyric leans towards a traditional slant. The use of multi-tracked whistles and again the horn section is a resounding success and if you hadn't guessed it already I'm sold on just the first two tracks of album! Just to prove they can, the band turn out some flashy tune sets and even the occasional trad arr song for good measure. This is an album that crosses a lot of barriers and the folk world should be proud to count them as one of their own. Buy it!

Pete Fyfe

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This album was reviewed in Issue 54 of The Living Tradition magazine.