London folk-rock duo's ace LP! Beautifullly sung timeless songs!
It's a good few years since I lived in London. And to be honest I don't miss it that much. Well that's not entirely true, there are certain things I miss about it. Spending a lazy Saturday afternoon in a civilised London boozer, nursing a pint, reading the paper and perusing a few vinyl purchases is pretty much a perfect afternoon in my opinion. Red buses going past outside as the football results come in. Ah I'm getting all misty-eyed just thinking about it. I am at heart however a country boy, clean air, rivers and chalk hills hold just as much appeal these days. And I'd struggle to pay those London rents let alone have money left for a Saturday pint or two.
There is one thing about modern London that does make me wish it was in easier reach. There are some fantastic bands doing the rounds there right now, playing the capital's venues regularly. It seems today's London is experiencing something of a purple patch with regards to grass roots music. Thankfully I get to hear these bands via the records they put out. Recent releases from Green Seagull, The Hanging Stars and The Cold Spells have all hit the spot. Another name to add to the list is The Left Outsides. Their recent long-player All That Remains has been a Bandcamp favourite of mine over the last few weeks.
Genre-wise I'd go with folk-rock but really they're all about great songs, beautifully sung and played. There's a timeless quality to their album. The songs could have surfaced in the late '60s/early '70s and would have fitted in with the likes of Fairport Convention, Pentangle et al. Or they could be old English folk songs from a century before. Or, as is the case they're getting their first airings in 2018 and will still sound fresh as the seasons turn and the years pass. The only thing that places the songs in the here and now is a lyric that refers to taking a bus trip in the 1970s. Interestingly this is backed by electric guitar chords that echo 1976's summer of punk. That aside the lyrics have an elemental, earthy yet spiritual quality.
So who's behind these sounds? Alison Cotton (viola/vocals) and Mark Nicholas (guitar/bass/keys/vocals) were members of The 18th Of May and are in Trimdon Grange Explosion, another fine London band who put out an eponymous LP last year. The Left Outsides recently toured supporting Robyn Hitchcock. A damn fine gig billing that. Oh and Alison also contributed to Through Passages Of Time, the ace hauntological album by The Hardy Tree that came out a year or two back. London, it always changes but always delivers.
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