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Strange Folk, ALBION
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The Independent Culture

Strange Folk attempts to provide a survey of the new acid-folk Zeitgeist along with an account of its roots in the wilder shores of the Sixties folk boom - an impossibly broad spectrum, which it only partly succeeds in covering. There's nothing by Fairport Convention, and virtually anything from The Incredible String Band's Elektra years would have been preferable to "Saturday Maybe". But Pentangle's banjo and sitar treatment of "House Carpenter" is spot on, while Barry Dransfield's "The Werewolf", Magnet's Wicker Man fragment and Donovan's setting of Yeats's "Song of the Wandering Aengus" all tap into the mythopoeic bedrock of the genre. This is folk as a weird landscape of legend and myth, a place Bob Dylan described as full of "songs about roses growing out of people's brains and lovers who are really geese and swans that turn into angels". Of the more recent exponents, Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom both sail close to the irritatingly whimsical without quite running aground; King Creosote recalls Ivor Cutler; and the droning modality of Espers' autoharp and fiddle and The Eighteenth Day of May's skirling guitar make them the direct inheritors respectively of the ISB and Richard Thompson.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Mysteries', 'House Carpenter', 'The Highest Tree'