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reviews Six by Two by The Askew Sisters

The folk scene is currently blessed with some outstanding young talents. To their number we can now add sisters Hazel and Emily Askew. This EP features two songs and four sets of tunes on fiddle (Emily) and melodeon (Hazel). Their arrangements made me feel rather old: they are clearly the products of a session scene that owes a massive debt to Chris Wood and Andy Cutting. This is evident in the arrangements, and also in the selection of material: the stand?out track is Chasse Pain (written by the hurdy?gurdy player Gilles Chabenat), one of two French tunes here. The songs are not quite as convincing as the tunes. Hazel has a sweet voice, but does not yet have the fire or body to it to make that old warhorse Sovay her own. Robin Wood and the Pedlar, though, grew on me with repeated listenings, and makes me optimistic for their future development in this direction. Their instrumental skills are in no doubt, however, and the tunes develop in interesting and dynamic ways. If they have a flaw it is the highly desirable one that their arrangements tend to be rather tasteful. It would be nice to hear them cut loose a little more, and they clearly can. On the last track, for example, they breeze through Glorishears then knock the stuffing out of Eleanor Rigby, turning it into the surprise morris tune of the year. Id like to hear more of this, and I look forward to seeing them live.