Founded in 2010, Hampshire-based folk and ceilidh band Threepenny Bit’s 2013 album Cartography (meaning the creation of maps) is their second release.
Threepenny Bit is an impressive example of how well contemporary elements can be intertwined seamlessly with the reflective qualities of traditional folk sounds. In a short space of time, their music has already sparked great interest and esteem in the British folk scene. With the use of more unusual instruments including the saxophone, clarinet and electric bass guitar, this album deserves a listen by all.
In tunes such as Mason’s Apron and Catharsis, Cartography features a running Latino theme, skilfully tied in with head-nodding traditional folk lines. This is complimented by spritely and uplifting traditional tunes in Spootiskerry Reel/Brenda Stubbert’s and The Inconvenience, demonstrative of the perfect ceilidh.
Kind of the Fairies readily sets the head-a-nodding with its catchy tunes, whereas the gliding Childgrove/Wayseer Waltz/Peacock Follow the Hen shows off intricate instrumental harmonies.
The album also features several well-chosen dances, from the melodic and sweet Katie’s Waltz to the fast and uplifting Knockabout Polka. Humours of Tullycrine and Insheer demonstrate most prominently the contemporary elements of this album, with support from the bass yet managing to maintain a traditional swinging style. Coffee Zycanthos and Ryan’s Favourite/Tenpenny Bit even incorporate rock and pop features, which emphasise the catchy rhythm of the dances.
Where many would assume there lies the risk that a modern folk album could sound heavy-handed, this cleverly crafted compilation of tunes is a thoroughly refreshing and welcome influence on the ear and current British folk scene!
Threepenny Bit is an exciting and promising band which seems set to travel onwards and upwards. Cartography is an impressive demonstration of how well Threepenny Bit would shine whether at a ceilidh, festival or outside busking.Emily Bright
Little Folk Records (Currently "Danger in Sound")
1. Mason’s Apron
2. Humours of Tullycrine
3. The Convenience
4. Ryan’s Favourite/Tenpenny Bit
6. King of the Fairies
7. Spootiskerry Reel/Brenda Stubbert’s
8. Katie’s Waltz
9. Childgrove/Wayseer Waltz/Peacock Follow the Hen
10. Coffee Zycanthos
12. Knockabout Polka