If I could get away with doing a one-word review for any release then this would be the one. The word? Beautiful!
But……even I’m not that lazy.
So expanding. Icons is a collaboration between Nick Burbridge (vocals, acoustic guitar, national treasure) who with McDermotts 2 Hours was one of the pioneers of folk-punk highly influencing both the Levellers and Ferocious Dog; and Dan Booth (fiddle) of the aforementioned Ferocious Dog and soon to be national treasures.
Icons is stripped down acoustic and fiddle versions of some of McDermotts best songs and new tracks co-written by Nick and Dan. And as mentioned before it’s beautiful – musically, lyrically, and sounding.
Nick Burbridge is a someone whos work I’m very familiar with through both his main gig – McDermotts 2 Hours and his poetic writing. Tim Cotterell’s work I know as both a producer and as fiddler for Glasgow’s The Electrics. Both are very fine musician’s so I’ve been very excited to get to hear this collaboration.
First off, the cover artwork of Gathered sets the tone of the collaboration – a black and white photo of what looks like a dog hanging dead in the forest. Very Blair Witch Project. In fact if I didn’t recognize the names on the sleeve I’d have assumed it was a misdirected Norwegian black metal album. Fortunately, the 12 tracks within have nothing to do with skinny Scandinavians with scary face pant – Its more bleak then that – Burbridge writes songs and stories about real people and real life – failure, resignation and defeat and that’s a lot more fearsum then cartoon horror. The music is equally stark and bleak with acoustic guitar, fiddle and Burbridge’s rich vocals all immaculately crafted together into song smith perfect. Gathered is not an immediate album by any stretch but if you work at it, it will be very rewarding and something that will stick around for a long time.