Release Date: 1st November 2019
Label: Hudson Records
Formats: CD, DL
Jon Boden reunites with his Remnant King rearguard for the latest part of his solo journey.
Taking the weight of his touring band into the famous Rockfield Studios, Boden follows up the post-apocalyptic direction of 2009’s Songs From The Floodplain and 2017’s Afterglow to commit to recording a set that reflects their live output. Rose In June sees his stock in trade of traditional songs, his own arrangements and some interesting covers.
The Remnant Kings are a skilled bunch of craftsmen. Sensitive to a bold interpretation of the almost ten-minute title track that sets the scene and kicks off the album off on a high note. It’s a majestic and towering epic that might prove hard to follow and to top as well as providing a crucial piece of evidence for the ‘progressive folk’ tag. The story gathers pace with an increase in intensity as the strings pick up the pace and the drums rumble
Rigs Of The Times skirts a chamber-folk arrangement and a dramatic big band treatment enhances All Hang Down whilst the lively dance of Beating The Bounds from his Songs From The Floodplain album gets a new lick of paint. Covering Ewan MacColl on Sweet Thames Flow Softly, he blends what could pass for an English hymn with a pinch of hard rock electric guitar that all combine into a grand sweeping arrangement.
Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love has been part of the repertoire for some time so a recorded version gives us something to hang on to and for those who like their folk music sounding like proper folk music should, all jigs and reels, Leviathan fits the bill perfectly and the Ruin Reel does folk in massed strings style.
Some still cling to the faint hope for the return of Boden with Bellowhead and see his work with different versions and a rotating cast in an expanded band as a hint that there’s still hope for a reunion of his most revered project. They may hear ‘a Bellowhead song’ in Rigs Of The Times and grasp at a sliver of hope especially when they hear the sweetness of Carnival Hornpipe swell into a full band romp.
For those, dream on and appreciate his current work, particularly his solo performances where he models his craft, switching between several instruments and where he’s arguably at his best. And most comfortable. However, his latest work finds him reconnecting with the band set up with a vengeance to produce his most immediate and accessible work.
Some may have found Afterglow a bit of a challenge (guilty as charged), but we can be consoled by the fact that he’s hit the bullseye with the range and quality of Rose In June with whatever version of the Remnant Kings are by his side.
It’s a few years old but here’s JB and a reduced Remnant Kings doing Hounds Of Love at Shrewsbury Folk Festival: