Contrary to the popular saying, you actually can judge a book by its’ cover. Which is very handy indeed when it comes to the ilk’s album the new dark age. For this album resembles a much-loved book from your childhood, more specifically a book of ghost stories you later find as an adult in that box of possessions you won’t part with, a well-thumbed paperback with yellowing pages.
Just looking at the album art summons images of kids getting into hair-raising adventures with witches and goblins. So, primed in the correct atmospherics you begin to listen. the ilk sound exactly how you would imagine. This is ghostly folk music, full of shivers and creeps, yet radiating with the warmth of a good bedtime story and the knowledge that there aren’t really creepy crawlies under your bed.
‘On Ilkley Moor’ starts all wide-eyed, shuffling guitars painting an autumnal woodland clearing as the story begins. This is a long, 15 minute amble that manages to straddle jaunty and grand, somewhere between Roxy Music’s ‘Triptych’ and Tubular Bells.
‘A Ghost Story For Summer’ lurches between regal pomp and a lurching theme for a sitcom about trolls.
‘Powerplant’ is a real surprise, with a modern technological pulsing that befits the title. All of which may seem out-of-place but in this modern world shouldn’t folk represent the world we actually live in? A vibrant spin on the sound.
‘Off Hogben’s Hill’ takes the tone deeper under a chugging drone, sounding like a pig rooting for truffles. Plaintiff tones and sombre bass bring the song closer to the opening of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased).
‘Living By The Water’ rounds the album off in sprightly fashion, as if the circus has just rolled into town.
Have you checked for anything lurking under the bed…?