Modesty forbids us from naming the member of the Folking team who penned this 5* review. The Demon Barbers XL were only narrowly beaten into second place in the Best Band category, too.
I’ve heard some bloody good records this year and here’s another one. There is a show behind Disco At The Tavern toured by the XL version of the band but here is the slimline six-piece group. Of course, when you have a DJ, a beatboxer, clog dancers and The Wilson Family as guests, that isn’t strictly relevant. The Demon Barbers’ theatricality comes through in the music alone.
The mix is as before: mostly traditional with some original tunes and a handful of “classic” written songs. It’s what the band does with it all that matters. The opening track is ‘Prince Of Cabourg’s Hornpipe’, deceptively conventional for a minute before crashing into a rocking version of ‘The Wild Goose Shanty’ and that’s the pattern. Tunes are woven through songs; lines are turned into choruses but never is the song subservient to the accompaniment. Actually, no. ‘Swimming Song’ is really an excuse for a good time with ‘Love & Opportunity’. There is a quieter patch in the middle with ‘Sir Lionel & The Boar’ and ‘Two Brothers’ but it quickly picks up speed again.
This really is a mind-blowing album with so much good stuff. It has to be an award-winner this time next year.
He was right.
Artists’ website: http://www.thedemonbarbers.co.uk/