Bringing together three highly competent and respected musicians (two from Bellowhead and one from folk’s flagship family, Waterson-Carthy) Faustus were always going to be exciting, and this album doesn’t disappoint. An exciting blend of instruments, oboe, violin, melodeon, guitar and bouzouki alternate between the tracks, lending variety and interest to the selection - and the song selection itself is excellent, ranging from the powerfully mournful to the positively get-up-and-dance. The performances are near perfect, and the sets of tunes are brilliant.
If there’s a slight downside (and it is VERY slight) Faustus don’t quite have the vocal power of some other folk bands around, none of their voices are quite as strong as, for instance, Jon Boden’s. But having said that there are two really nice vocal performances; The Hostesses Daughter and Balina Whalers - though pedantically you could call the latter a somewhat misguided and short-sighted piece of advice from the whaler sailors to the other fishermen, advising them to forget their day-to-day catch and go search the humpback whale; probably not something that’s going to help out the fishing communities’ socio-economic sustainability… ;-) But you can’t blame Faustus for that, they didn’t write it!
All in all a good album, the only real pity being that the first track isn’t one of the strongest, meaning you might start with a little apprehension, but even then, it’s better than most other stuff around.