Wow! It really is so difficult, when given a CD to review that moves and excites so much, to avoid going completely O.TT. with the superlatives - so I will try very hard .....
The fact is that this first offering from Crucible (Gavin Davenport, Helena Reynolds and Jess and Richard Arrowsmith), is an example to anyone and everyone, young and old, who wishes to get involved in the interpretation of traditional English music and keep it real and keep it cool!. Their combined instrumental and singing skills are nothing short of stunning. Their arrangement ideas and their cohesion in the executing thereof belies their frightening youthfulness!
Instruments include: Fiddles, Squeezeboxes, Pipes and Guitar.
They all take lead vocal roles with panache and all have very distinctive individual voices, but wait till you hear them all together! Whether they are singing or playing or indeed both at the same time, if I was asked for one word to describe their sound it would be vibrant! and thats without electric guitars, keyboards, drums and bass - thanks guys!
Some of the styles and textures in evidence here do tend to remind me of a variety of the earlier revival performers (some still with us and some sadly, not), who it has to be said provided the newer and/or younger performers with the blue print from which to develop and hone the craft. Crucible are clearly conscious and refreshingly respectful of all this (One of the advantages of being born to parents who have lived through it all and understood it) but are also careful not to copy, but more to let influence show through and at the same time be ultimately creative in their general approach.
Much has been said about the Apprenticeship thing, levelled at the ever advancing number of new kids on the block over the last ten years -? some of it sense and some of it clap-trap, but whatever your age or experience, to my mind its whether you get it or not that ultimately validates your place in a scene like the Folk World and keeps you there! This band most definitely get it!
To draw attention to any particular tracks would be to imply that there are some items markedly better than others not so, there is plenty of light and shade, good taste, expertise and clued in performance here, but no dross!
Yes - they get it alright. Want to hear the testimony? - buy the CD.