Britain’s very own answer to Bluegrass. That’s what this is. Hey, don’t run away, come back! Indigo Moss are the hotly tipped newcomers, signed to Youth and Simon Tong’s new label Butterfly Recordings, this is a debut with a plethora of endorsements. It’s just a shame it doesn’t quite live up to it.
It’s obvious from the outset that these guys love the music that they’re influenced by. Whether they’ve grown up with it or discovered it themselves, the feel of country, americana and folk music permeates through the entire album. But instead of trying to be contemporary in their arrangements, they just ape them. This is a very hard album to love, the music is one paced and uneventful, the presence of harmonica, accordion and banjo just make it sound dated rather than fresh. Their only nod to the here and now is in the lyrics, but these are steeped in the past and, at times, get a bit too clean and self righteous for my liking. Take Sweet Spirits O’ Cats A Fightin’ which is an update of a traditional bootleggers tale, but from it’s interesting start steeped in tales of string-free sex it turns into an advert for Frank or the Governments Anti-Drugs campaign. However it does, occasionally, work. Suicide Song is a dark lament on lost lives and the low depths of depression, the music black and sinister, whilst the opening track Start Over Again feels light and breezy, joyful and soulful with it’s banjo and harmonic intro. The main problem, to me at least, is Trevor Moss’ voice. It just isn’t up for it; it croaks, it rolls and it meanders through songs, not entirely comfortably. Compared to Hannah-Lou’s voice, which is angelic and soulful, it’s not nearly in the same class. Listen to Swimming and your can easily imagine yourself floating along the river surrounded by sun, grass and floating butterflies. When Trevor’s voice crashes in, your dreams are trashed and your woken, recklessly, from your slumbers.
So as a take on contemporary British folk music, this disappoints. It’s just not contemporary enough (compared to the likes of James Yorkston for example), this is more traditional that it cares to admit. And that’s its main fault, if it just owned up to it, then you wouldn’t go into this album with such high hopes that wouldn’t be dashed in an instant.