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HUNGRY HILL

The Memory Band

Oh My Days

    In a decade which has seen a wide ranging and fruitful revival of interest in folk music, Stephen Cracknell's The Memory Band has established itself in that fine English tradition of slightly schizophrenic projects pointing in several directions at once which manage to find their place in the ever exciting independent music scene, popping up at several influential moments and though the marvels of technology finding audiences all around the world.

    From the outset The Memory Band has embraced change and for its third album, "Oh My Days", the ever-fluid line-up of The Memory Band has shifted once more, with a fresh emphasis on rhythm courtesy of the powerhouse team of bassist Jon Thorne from Lamb and drummer Tom Page of Rocketnumbernine, as well as an all-new vocal frontline featuring Jess Roberts, Jenny McCormick, Hannah Caughlin and Liam Bailey (whose debut album is out on Poyldor later this year). Sam Carter, winner of this year's Horizon award at the Radio 2 Folk Awards, plays and sings on a number of songs, while there are contributions from names new and old; Nancy Wallace, Dot Allison, Sam Genders on vocals, guitarists John Smith and Pete Greenwood, bassist Jonny Bridgwood, string players Quinta, Rob Spriggs, Jennymay Logan and Laura Moody, Sarah Scutt on accordion and recorder, and Serafina Steer on harp.

    "Oh My Days" is a warmly-textured, delicately-balanced blend of the best elements from its predecessors. Low-key electronic pulses and loops purr away gently beneath material that radiates a quiet strength, having expanded its palette to embrace soul, gospel, Laurel Canyon rock and country blues alongside the folk and jazz elements of the earlier albums. It's a beautifully-poised piece of work, with the usual handful of inspired covers – Sandy Denny's "By The Time It Gets Dark", Graham Bond's "Love Is The Law" and Jeff Alexander's "Come Wander With Me" (from the TV series The Twilight Zone) – nestling amongst ten originals, several of which are already live favourites.

    My Brightest Diamond bring us "Postcards From Downtown", a haunting folk tinged song with subtle electronics bubbling away in the background over Shara Worden's stunning vocals.
    Dayna Kurtz "Gone Away" is a stunning stripped back slice of acoustic blues.



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