STEEL THREADS – Live EP (own label)

STLiveAfter two studio albums folk-rock duo Steel Threads release a seven-track live EP, a record that they believe best represents their real sound. Four of the songs can be found on their debut album, Timing Is Everything, two come from For Those Who Are Left, and one, ‘Over Before You Begun’, is new.

If you haven’t encountered the band before, Neil Wardleworth plays guitar and does most of the writing and lead vocals and Laura Wilcockson plays fiddle and sings harmony. In the studio Neil also plays bass drum and they employ a bass player. He keeps the drum for live performances. For this set, they have eschewed their more delicate songs apart from the new composition which is gorgeous. ‘Let The Wind Blow’ starts out with great restraint but picks up the power and its ending is quite stunning with Laura’s mournful violin matching Neil’s impassioned vocals.

The record opens with ‘Nothing To Hide’ and ‘Last Nights Love’ from the first album. Neil and Laura have left just enough of the applause and chat in to remind us that this is a live recording. The sound is very powerful but clean and it was only on the fourth or fifth play that I realised that Neil sounds a bit like Mark Chadwick on ‘It Goes On’. In fact, a stripped-down Levellers is not a bad comparison.

Dai Jeffries