Tweed: High-Brow Blues (Southbound)

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Tweed: High-Brow Blues (Southbound)

Although this Auckland-based trio bill themselves as alternative-folk, grey-haired Anglofolk followers will hear in them something which was once mainstream acoutsic folk, back in the days when Steeleye Span, Amazing Blondel, Fairport Convention and others were right at the centre of the frame.

About 1972, I guess.

The difference is that while these young people -- who assuredly might not get those references and don't need to --  have a similar acoustic energy as the aforementioned, they have pleasingly taken to exploring another branch of that tree.

References to Crosby Stills and Nash (as fronted by a more brusque woman vocalist where the harmonies are more sandpaper than smooth ) are not amiss at all.

And then the male voices take backseat, the cello comes in for appropriately dramatic effect on something as compelling as the turmoil which drives the multi-part and outstanding (and timeless) Shifting . . . and . . .

And this becomes a very different conception.

Very alternative folk, but still connected to the lifeblood of villages, dining room tables and conversations around an open fire when people feel alienated.

There are archaisms here (of music, arrangememnts, lyrics) but a song like Lost is of the immediate present: "How do we construct our lives . . .mapping wastelands never lived before . . .they promised us that fighting fair wouldn't disadvantage anyone . . . we are a generation of collective isolation . . "

That is smart writing coupled to impassioned singing, and it winds down to "last night I had the saddest dream . . ."

And after that you are on your own. As they are.

There are many lighter and more conciliatory songs here -- the metaphorical dolphin song adds nothing to the breadth of human experience -- but at their best Tweed (awful name) really do have something to say in an alt-folk/trippy way (the expansive and again multi-part Evacuee with an unexpected but elequent electric guitar solo by non-member Rowan Uhe).

Can't lie. Did not get this first go round, but then . . .



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