After the rapturous response received by their debut release, Anglo-Welsh trio The Trials of Cato are back with their second studio album Gog Magog, and with a new member in their line-up. Yorkshire mandolin maestro Polly Bolton steps in to replace Will Addison, who left the band last year, but this does not affect the fresh and bold approach displayed in their previous work.
Their ability to give a new flavour to traditional material and, at the same time compose catchy new tunes is evident from the first notes of the opening track Paper Planes unfolding, and from the exquisite instrumental title track, which takes its name from the mythical giant at the core of the legend of the formation of the Cambridgeshire hills of the same name.
This album offers a wide variety of atmospheres, ranging from the ethereal When Black Shuck Roams, which offers a new perspective on an East Anglian legend, to the middle eastern influenced Kirhonkson Stomp. And from the airy Boudicca C. AD 60, dedicated to the British chieftain and to her resistance against the Roman imperialism, to the lively medley Dawns, from the lively Balls to the Wall to the traditional Welsh song Aberdaron.
Their magnetic sound created by the skilful and spontaneous interplay between guitars, mandolin and banjo which is the driving force behind the memorable instrumental tracks and the warm sounding tapestry for the songs, here delivered by both male and female voices. An exceptional array of instrumental talent, with some percussion and a gentle electronic touch here and there, is the core of an album that conveys the emphatic energy of the trio’s live performances.
Behind the multi-layered arrangements and the equally imaginative approach to old and new material, the listener will surely feel the enjoyment of playing together that is the trademark of the trio’s musicianship. Gog Magog confirms that the fame The Trials of Cato have gained in such a short amount of time is not only well-deserved, but likely to grow.Michele Mele
Released on 25 November 2022 on CD and digitally.
1. Paper Planes
2. Gog Magog
3. Ring of Roses
5. Kirhonkson Stomp
6. When Black Shuck Roams
7. Boudicca C. AD 60
9. I Thought You Were my Friend
10. Bedlam Boys
11. Balls to the Wall
12. As Green as You