‘George M’Boy’ is the second long player from The Sandrunners following on from the highly rated ‘The King of the Screen’ album and their debut EP ‘Angel of the Northern Wind’. Since then, they’ve been busy carving out a reputation for delivering high-quality music in their own unique style of folk-noir. Their new release sees them develop their musical talents even further by embarking on a concept piece that focuses on the story of a soldier and his family during the First World War.

Cleverly using a blend of music that touches on folk-rock, and progressive rock, all stamped with their own folk-noir sound the record leads the listener through the doubts and fears of the early propaganda leading up to the outbreak of war, the battlefield and the aftermath. It also explores the personal impact on the family unit when a member leaves for the front and follows not only that journey, but also allows a glimpse into the hopes and fears of the remaining family members left behind.

Musically there’s a lot going on, but it never overpowers the lyrics or the message of the record. Much of the early act focuses on the age of empire and glory and in places, it’s hard not to imagine some of those songs and lyrics sitting on a Kinks record such is the descriptive imagery contained within. Something that Ray Davies himself excelled at. Later, as the story unfolds and leads towards its conclusion there’s more questioning of motives, realisation, and anger within the songs which hint at some of the writings of The Who’s Pete Townsend.

Special mention must be given to guest vocalist Edelle McMahon who’s presence adds an extra level of emotion throughout the record and her vocals on songs such as ‘Last Night I Had A Dream’ and ‘‘Airships Over London’ really are sublime.

‘George M’Boy’ is an excellent piece of work by a band that has clearly put their heart and soul into making it. Combining established musical genres with their own unique sound while using emotive, powerful and vivid lyrics the band has created an impassioned and thought-provoking body of work that is an enthralling listen.

Simply put, The Sandrunners have excelled themselves on this one.