4SQUARE – Chronicles (Square Roots Music SQR 1002)

4 SQUARE ChroniclesBlimey, I thought I’d stumbled upon a long lost recording by Jim Moray or Seth Lakeman when I heard the first track by 4 Square. The traditional song “Trooper Lad” which opens the CD is sung with a delivery that could best be described as ‘lazily-cocky’, not that it’s unpleasant in anyway, it’s just that it’s a case of you either like this approach or you don’t. Personally I do and when it’s backed up by an arrangement not dissimilar to that of the much missed Easy Club this is a cross-over that works well if you’re willing to step outside the ‘folk music’ box.

The members of the band; Nicola Lyons (fiddle & clogs!), Jim Malyneux (keyboards, accordion & guitar), James Meadows (banjo, mandola & tenor guitar), and Dan Day (percussion, piano & guitar) deliver the goods driving things along at a cracking pace when they need to throwing you around musically with gay abandon (and I didn’t think I’d ever use that line as a journalist!). OK, so some might see this as a brash, if not abrasive attempt at trying something different…although if you’ve read this review properly you’ll discover it’s all been done before. Having said that I’m really enjoying the youthful spirit that has been injected into to the ‘scene’ recently. Proving no slouches when it comes to penning a good tune I’m hoping the band’s mix of traditional and contemporary will endear them to an audience ready to embrace a bit of creativity.

Finally, a slight niggle is that I’m not sure about the Mr. Coconut Head sleeve (bringing to mind the photo of a row of boots by Rock Salt & Nails) and stark white background creating a very stylised marketing exercise presumably aimed at a younger audience although a little off-putting for those of us of a certain age. Perhaps it’s trendy but a little misplaced if you want to try and widen your demographic.

PETE FYFE


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