Wheeler Street - Roodumdah

2009 studio album

Roodumdah - Wheeler Street

the bright young folk review

The first EP from this young Kentish folk-rock band was a breath of fresh air, full of vigour and promise. The big question is can they sustain the level of energy and inventiveness over a full length album?

Happily yes, they can. Most of the songs play out like concise epics. With seven instrumentalists coming and going, the songs stay fresh and there’s always a change of riff or tempo to keep you interested. Allusions to Jetho Tull crop up here are there, mainly due to the angular nature of some of the riffs and Sophy Blundell’s outstanding flute playing.

Worst Woman is the only song to survive from their EP and it repeated here in a refined form which showcases how the band is honing it’s craft. Ben Insall’s vocals on this track are better than ever.

Worthy of special mention is a sub-two minute a cappella version of "My Son John." It’s a triumph and truly haunting. It’s also provides the "Roodumdah" lyric of the album’s title which along with Bellowhead’s Matachin seems to be establishing a dubious trend for obscure album titles.

It’s not without it missteps, though. Three tracks in Child Owlett turns down the energy levels and falls a little flat. Gypsies, although musically very successful, is hampered by a mannered vocal performance.

But that doesn’t hide that fact that it’s easy to forget that you’re listening to a début CD. The superb singing and playing combined with the band’s compelling enthusiasm make a potent package.

Christopher Friedenthal

Released on 23 February 2009 by Stump Nugget.

1. Young Man’s Wish/Flinglish
2. Worst Woman/Bad Female
3. Child Owlett
4. Mega Drive Collection, The
5. Mist Covered Mountains/Barton Road
6. Gypsies/Rochdale
7. My Son John
8. Edwin Collins
9. Birdsong
10. Witch And The Sailor/Lemon Zest

Wheeler Street discography