LIGHTWEIGHT AND GENTLEMEN
REVEAL RECORDS 16.4.07
Piano key accordion, fiddle and guitar do not your average band make and Lau are not your average band. They’re the Celtic equivalent of what in the seventies they called a supergroup. Three well-respected technical virtuosi come together to make a band. They write their own modern day jigs and reels, turning out an album of dance music. It’s all lovingly polished and the individual voices of the instruments (there’s few vocals here) come through clear in a trio setting, highlighting the alien sounds of the piano accordion, especially when Martin Green decides to play it through a rotating Leslie speaker! This is stuff for having a bop to and I’m ill placed to compare them to much except maybe Stateside jam band Railroad Earth. On disc they are much more concise but I imagine a concert would see numbers extended to allow dancers to hit the flow.
Being a bit of a hippy, I quickly warmed to the tight interplay here and felt the groove working, others might find it taking more listening but just focus on the three sounds blending, laughing, jaunting round each other and smile. As I said, most of the songs are instrumental and self-written. There are a couple of traditional songs and a re-working of Ewan MacColl’s Freeborn Man that is a worthy reminder of the integrity of Ewan’s songs. People say that live Lau rip the paint off the walls. If so, a studio album can only be a shadow of that but this is one that focussed my concentration down tight on it AND made my feet move – a comparative rarity, though I have to admit to listening to pitifully little contemporary folk-dance. Discs like this make me think that I should…