Clive Pownceby of EDS
reviews Sounding Now by The ClaqueThese are enlivening times for ‘our’ music. With fresh performers emerging, fully formed, seemingly before they can vote or legally buy alcohol, it’s equally pleasing that persons of a certain age can also make their presence felt. Sometimes old-fashioned virtues are no bad thing.
Tom Addison, Barry Lister, Dave Lowry and Sean O’Shea (Claque: ‘securing the success of a public performance by bestowing upon it preconcerted applause’ – Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary) have known one another since the early days of the 1960s revival as members of various groups – Tom, a Songwainer of noted fame, Dave and Barry with Isca Fayre (whose Candle Records vinyl Then Around Me Young And Old is still treasured by this reviewer), and Sean with Barry in Hollinmoor.
Only in 2006 did the light bulb moment of ‘we should maybe sing together’ shine. This is a satisfying album of totally a cappella English traditional (for the most part) song, of the old school without bells and whistles, in a nononsense fashion. As such it is to be cherished.
Whether extolling life’s course (‘Joyful May’) illegal importing (‘Devoran Smugglers’) or the contravention of Trades Descriptions (‘Salt Horse’) the tight, dignified four-part harmonies and committed delivery display a thorough and sturdy grounding that only comes from ‘singing in’ source material over many years. Always tuneful, always precise, by turns reflective and rousing and with voices as deep, rich, and warming as port and brandy –this is why we liked folk song in the first place. No revelations then, but all one would expect from singers with such pedigrees, and solid quality as standard. An absence of clever-cloggery might leave fans of the-nextbig-thing cold but will delight those who value substance and style.
A special pleasure.