23rd October 2018
After Conflict Tourism I began to feel that Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts were moving rather too far toward the mainstream; no blame attached but with A Problem Of Our Kind they have hit their mark precisely. These are original songs written with an underlying knowledge of traditional music.
Inspiration is drawn from history, contemporary events and personal experience. The opener, ‘Gauntlet’, tells the fascinating true story of Ashford vs Thornton, the last time trial by battle was claimed under English law. Where did Katriona dig that up? Jamie follows that with the story of philanthropist and impresario Laurie Marsh and that’s two things I’ve learned from this record. The two songs of social commentary, ‘The Smile & The Fury’ and ‘On The Line’ both come from Jamie and ‘Average Joe’ manages to evoke the philosophy of Stan Rogers if not his style.
The accompaniments are pared back to a certain extent, but heavy on percussion, giving a dramatic feel. Matt Downer and Sarah Smout underpin the songs with double bass and cello with Ben Savage and Matt Crum decorating with dobro and melodeon respectively. Even when they cut back to nearly nothing there isn’t a dull moment – the handclap backing of ‘Bone Cupboard’ is perfectly judged. This is an album that will take some beating come voting time.
Dai Jeffries< Back to news