Derived from an old folk tale of a shoe mender from the town of Keston. His trade was drying up, on his uppers, so to speak. So he took to fiddling, and created such merry tunes that his customers could not keep from dancing, and wearing their shoes out. Hence regaining his customers' trade. Cunning ploy and the ultimate in planned obsolescence. So we have The Keston Cobblers Club! Great back story and name.
The Kent collective and Nu-folk favourites return with their fifth album, and it will be gratefully received by lovers of up-beat, literate, story-driven, accessible music.
The opening track, ‘Anthem of the Alchemist’ harks back to a traditional fable of the village alchemist, and his ongoing attempts to turn base metal into gold, until he finds a message he had written as a child himself, that treasures are all around.
You will find it right beside you. Forget the gold it’ll only blind you
Truth be told there are many little musical treasures contained in this album. Each track is intended as a hint to overcoming obstacles in life.
There’s a vibrancy and a lightness to the playing and tone. Certainly, there are hints of the Mumfords, but this is too good a band not to have its own unique identity and style. Take the hugely infectious ‘Find my way Home’:
You are my finish line, podium, my gold
And I’m running back home, yes I’ll meet you now to hold you,
Fare thee well, carousel, send a song to me
Cause I’m looking out for love, now I’ve found I’m not alone
And I know I’m gonna find my way home
It always helps when you have two different singers, who seamlessly contrast and complement each other as siblings Julia and Mathew Lowe do.
Highlights include the buoyant and uplifting ‘No, You are Not Alone’, ‘Jupiter’, and ‘Tarantula’. Special mention to the rather charming ‘Lullaby for the Wide Awake’, which features a rather dreamy vocal from Julia.
There is also a definite Mariachi sound from the horns on ‘The Holiday’. You can always tell when a band is having fun, and it appears on this album, that they were having a blast.
This is a band that has refused to be pigeonholed and their sound is a happy amalgam of folk and pop sensibilities, resulting in a very singular sound.
On the basis of this album, there will be many eager to join the Club.