Gilmore a Roberts CONFLICT TOURISM

GR! Records

Curate’s egg of a fourth album from folk duo

The fourth album from Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts is the proverbial curate’s egg. A title that describes those who go to a war zone for entertainment promises much, and while the duo say that the songs are about different types of conflict the album as a whole doesn’t quite match the promise of the title, or indeed the theme.

There are some excellent pieces, notably Selfish Man, Jack O Lantern and Peggy Airey (all written by Roberts) with the latter in particular having a great tune and plenty of power, while Peter Pan (Roberts again) is a poignant epitaph for a cousin. But elsewhere the quality dips, notably with the self-explanatory Warmonger and Stumble On The Seam, which comes across more like a lecture than a song.

Then there’s the music. It’s played extremely well, with guests including Phillip Henry on lap steel and producer Mark Tucker on percussion and sits firmly in ‘contemporary folk’ territory. It does occasionally dip a toe into pop and even indie for a bit of variety and the production layers up a lot of sounds to create a richly textured overall effect. But too often everything is a bit too polite, subdued and lacking in oomph and consequently fails to really take flight.

A mixed bag then, and probably one best experienced by selectively downloading. Jeremy Searle

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