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Keston Cobblers Club - Wildfire (Album Review)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 Written by James Ball

Mumford and Sons have ditched the banjos and, as such, the world is on the lookout for a new folk rock group to soundtrack journeys between darkness and angst, sunshine and flowers and every stop inbetween. Step forward, Keston Cobblers Club.

This five-piece have been slowly growing in popularity since the release of their 2012 debut, and there is good reason for that. Naming their latest album ‘Wildfire’ is an interesting choice, though. None of the tracks here are particularly heated or incendiary, but there is real warmth to be found as it meanders from track to track.

With that said, you’d be forgiven for thinking the record shapes up as a difficult and dramatic affair while Laws unfolds. A lone piano cuts a distant figure before the rest of the band bursts in and, while it may not be the sort of opener that sets the scene for the rest of an album, it’s beautiful; emotive and thought-provoking.

Following this is the harmonious Win Again. Soaring melodies, combined with some uplifting lyrics, keep this minor key treat on the right side of cheery. If it was a month, it would be May; so close to summer yet so far from its warmth.

Won’t Look Back, the first single from the record and a Mumford-style anthem in its pulsating final minute, takes us into June and the realisation that this album is a collection of songs that will refuse to seamlessly shift from one to another. They are expected to be judged and enjoyed on their own merits.

Contrails hits out of the blue. Slow, mysterious and breathless, it flows like a mischievous whisper before fading away into memory. Obviously, you follow that up with the powerful, drum-heavy title-track. An inferno blazing through the barren moors, it’s here that ‘Wildfire’ is cemented as one of the finest albums of the year.

Each track has been meticulously planned out and produced sympathetically. St Tropez takes you to a boat on the French Riviera, Half Full is the ultimate campfire song, while Once Had is equally measured in its production. Infectious and catchy without becoming cheesy, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Only Of Alarms falls a little short, with the payoff it promises never arriving.

Described as “the darkest song I’ve ever written” by Matt Lowe, Sober moves carefully, its brass crescendos suddenly hushed to allow a single, delicate guitar, accompanied only by a sombre vocal, to bring an emotional finish. Stunning stuff.

This record is as close to honesty in musical form as you might hope for. It’s a subtle, complete collection of independent songs that share an underlying style, while still functioning as individuals. Wildfire? Keep it burning.  

Keston Cobblers Club Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed October 14 2015 - LIVERPOOL Leaf Tea Shop & Bar
Thu October 15 2015 - GLASGOW Broadcast
Fri October 16 2015 - EDINBURGH Electric Circus
Sat October 17 2015 - BURY Met
Sun October 18 2015 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Thu October 22 2015 - NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social Club
Fri October 23 2015 - DEVON Exeter Phoenix
Sat October 24 2015 - BRISTOL Thekla
Sun October 25 2015 - CAMBRIDGE Portland Arms
Wed October 28 2015 - LONDON Scala
Thu October 29 2015 - NORWICH Arts Centre
Fri October 30 2015 - GUILDFORD Boileroom
Sat October 31 2015 - BRIGHTON Hope and Ruin
Fri November 06 2015 - OXFORD Bullingdon

Click here to compare & buy Keston Cobblers Club Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





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