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Danny Moore of Rock n Reel

reviews Nine Witch Knots by Rubus

4 Star rating

Another inspired young folk act, Rubus are a four-piece fronted by the enchanting voice of Emily Portman.
Portman, a former member of the largely a cappella Devil’s Interval, delivers with a disarming clarity on the almost exclusively traditional songs included on their debut album Nine Witch Knots, and which brings to mind the singing of Anne Briggs.

The combination of viola, guitar, concertina and drums offers a dream-team accompaniment to Portman’s beguiling presence, with the occasional vocal harmonies of Christi Andropolis providing moments of exceptional beauty. The subtle and intricate acoustic guitar of David Newey and the rattling and authoritative drumwork of Will Schrimshaw supply the perfect foundation for ‘Golden Ball’, ‘Watchet Sailor’ and ‘Rolling Of The Stones’, whilst elsewhere Andropolis’s fiddle adds atmosphere, a sense of suspense and suitable colour to ‘Cornish Young Man’, ‘Willie’s Lady’ and the album’s closer, ‘Sowing Song’.

It’s a magnificently assured debut.