Nowadays the UK folk scene seems particolary active and intriguing and there is a new generation of artists that are gaining increased attention and consensus. Within the family of the newer folk bands, Bird in the Belly was formed a few years ago by a collective of artists and musicians with the stated objective to rediscover old and lesser known stories from the ancient British folk tradition, and present them to the public in the form of contemporary folk songs.
The Crowing is the debut LP from the band, and this record somehow shows all the merits, but also the defects, which we can expect from this type of operation. On the one hand we perceive all the charm of ancient and gothic folklore, here offered to the public by means of old-style melodies and enchanting atmospheres. The musical performance is unexceptionable and we can really feel the accurate work that was done by all the members of the collective to transpose into songs – and valorize – the original lyrical material. On the other hand, however, there is at times a certain “coldness”, or better “seriousness”, of the overall performance. We miss in a few songs that special feeling of urgency and transport which can only emerge when music become the way through wich an author expresses his inner feelings.
Taken as a whole, however, the record is enjoyable as well as interesting and quite original; without any doubt The Crowing is worth of earning a prominent place among the folk releases of the year. A special note of merit goes to Ben Webb (a.k.a. Jinnwoo), a young and promising British singer that showcases a mind-blowing ability to interpret the songs in which he appears.
The album is available for streaming on Spotify.
My favorite songs are: His Night Waking, Shoreham River, and Old Squire.