Album: Jim Moray <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

As on Sweet England, his award-winning 2003 debut, Jim Moray continues to filter traditional folk music through a fine mesh of modern sensibilities and musical influences on this follow-up album. Sometimes the results conform to earlier folk-rock innovations, such as the tendrils of Richard Thompson-esque skirling electric guitar which bind up "Dog+Gun", or the rhythm section beefing up the gentle "Fair+Tender Lovers". But Moray's arrangements push the trad-folk envelope in other directions too - as in the opening "Lord Willoughby", a stirring tale of military derring-do given an appropriately dramatic setting, with orchestra employed as in a movie soundtrack. The result is something like the musical equivalent of Sharpe: you can all but see Sean Bean as Willoughby, steaming wearily on some corpse-strewn battlefield. Elsewhere, a quietly modulating synth line undulates beneath the tragic "Barbara Allen", and a disturbing stereo-panned electronic buzz itches away at the heart of "Nightvisiting", in which a prisoner's ghostly visitation is set to rippling piano reminiscent of Kate Bush. Less welcome is the ponderous stadium rock-style of "Who's The Fool?", which sounds worryingly similar to Snow Patrol.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Lord Willoughby', 'Nightvisiting', 'Dog + Gun'