If I could sum up playing it briefly (not my forté I realise!) then it would be that it feels optimistic, summery – it wonderfully encapsulates the kind of festival feeling in which you might invariably encounter Black Thorn strutting their stuff on a stage. I think it’s the accordion wielded by Josie more than anything that soaks these tracks with cheerfulness and light-heartedness, with Joel’s heartfelt vocal style, Jack’s bass rhythms and Adam’s guitar it all knits together into a well-honed collection of songs.
There’s some development from the live performances I’ve seen – double bass, brass, melodica and synths feature in here, as well as guest appearances giving more vocals, percussion, didgeridoo, harmonica and cornet, but it doesn’t detract one little bit from the kind of turns on stage I’ve seen the band put in a number of times over the summer. It’s ambitious, but it doesn’t over-reach by any stretch – add to your consideration that the whole thing was mixed and mastered by Joel himself – in a damp cellar in Derbyshire according to the album sleeve – and it becomes all the more impressive!
It opens up with Cabin Fever – one that felt immediately familiar with a few festival outings – starting with birdsong and guitar strums, a ‘woo!’ kicks the full track in (Black Thorn are a very woo-y band – and it fits them perfectly) – it changes rhythm and pace, I think the narrative is the anticipation of waiting for summer. Psychic Sally picks up a very different theme – on the dubious merits of the psychic industry, whether or not it’s inspired by a famous ‘psychic’ of that name was fervently denied on Facebook by Joel – it carries on nicely in tone from the first track but is gently scathing by the same token with an empassioned chorus.