The Langan Band - Plight o’ Sheep

2023 studio album

Plight o’ Sheep - The Langan Band

the bright young folk review

A wonderful image is conjured up when picturing The Langan Band on the windswept Isle of Lewis, strolling amongst herds of miserable looking sheep whilst trying to record their first album in a decade. It is hard to listen to the stunning virtuosity on display in all of these new songs without seeing the band all cooped up in that lonely Hebridean recording studio, singing and playing 10 years worth of pent-up creativity.

The Langan Band comprise of John Langan, Alistair Caplin and Dave Tunstall who between themselves recorded all the instruments that can be heard on Plight o’ Sheep. A special mention to Pete Fletcher who has done a remarkable job on production as all of the songs feel suitably massive and yet the delicacies of the slower numbers really shine through.

The band have stated that their hiatus from releasing music went by quickly, although that is hard to believe given that number one song in the UK during the week when their last album was released was What About Us by The Saturdays. Fans of this distant previous record (not The Saturdays one) will be pleased upon hearing the latest offering as it retains much of the avant-folk style on the big singles One Whole Year and Leg of Lamb, whilst showing a deeper, more romantic side in songs such as Sweetness.

Djelem Djelem displays their songwriting depth, moving far away from the Hebridean coast on which this album was recorded and delving into Middle-Eastern territories for some beautiful and haunting melody lines that are rarely heard on Scottish shores. This song is a real flex of musician muscle.

It is also worth noting that this album is a very fun listen, and the humour that is often written about the band’s live shows very much comes across; they manage to deliver high-class musicianship without taking themselves too seriously, and Plight o’ Sheep will bring a smile to every listener’s face.

Could it be the case that 10 years is a desirable maturation length when making music? Indeed, this album feels perfectly weighted and undeniably full of Scottish character, and also presents a brilliant distillation of folk styles from the UK and further afield.

Harvey Coates

Released on CD and digitally May 12 2023. Produced by Pete Fletcher.

1. One Whole Year
2. Leg of Lamb
3. Come When I Call You
4. Sweetness
5. The Bastard Hills of Totterdown
6. Djelem Djelem
7. The Drunken Dwarf
8. Open Your Eyes
9. I’m Alive
10. Old Tom’s Waltz / Reel Valencia

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