My mum had a turn of phrase for the opening track of the latest Faustus album and that was ‘rumpy-pumpy’. Although some may see this as disparaging I do know what she meant (she even wondered why I liked ‘folk’ music at all) but ever since I first heard the original Albion Band I’ve been sold on this quintessentially ‘English’ approach to our genre of music. The opening track “Broken Down Gentlemen” is the kind of song that responds well to the squeezebox/fiddle led introduction which punctuates the lyrics sung (presumably) by Benji Kirkpatrick. The ‘Penny Dreadful’ style dramatization of our hero who loses his coach and six to his landlord (a bit like the Sheriffs in the current daytime BBC TV series) is full of established folklore just ripe for modern interpretation. Personally I’m pleased to see there’s no namby-pamby arrangements just good, honest workman-like let’s-get-stuck-in rhythm and lead lines topped by equally impressive vocals and another song worth checking out is the seemingly indestructible shanty “Og’s Eye Man/Ring Her Bell” which has managed to avoid the heavily clichéd reggae arrangements of shanties that are proving so popular at the moment. On a slightly negative point I would like to say that the lack of lyrics, song notes and information in the accompanying booklet is sorely missed but then again this would perhaps be better suited to a page on their website. Other than that, this is a very good album well worth a space in your ‘folk’ collection.
Artist web link for latest tour dates: www.faustusband.com