The Bird, The Book & The Barrel by The Lost Trades transports you through English folk tales to touch those sun-drenched harmonic sounds of California.
Release Date: 4th June 2021
Label: Self Release (Order Here)
Format: CD / Digital
Phil Cooper is no stranger to At The Barrier. On his These Revelation Games album (reviewed here) he showed us his rockier bent. Now he’s back in association with Jamie R Hawkins and Tamsin Quin making up the harmonious trio, The Lost Trades. A lost opportunity due to current restrictions derailed their ambitions to tour however it did allow them to refine and record The Bird, The Book & The Barrel.
They claim there is a “Laurel Canyon feel” to the music; the glorious three-part harmonies are surely reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash.
When I first heard this album I was strolling through Rivington (a rural, scenic area between Bolton and Chorley, Lancashire). The music perfectly complemented the scenery on a warm Easter afternoon (yes, there was a warm day this Easter). It will do likewise to a sultry Summer day.
An intricate acoustic finger style nicely warms you up with the rousing call to arms lyric of One Voice. It perpetuates the tenet which we are all too familiar with – that we can achieve great things together. As a trio, they have certainly achieved that together. The violin skills of Peter Knight (Steeleye Span and Gigspanner) add a modern English folk flavour to the CSN-like harmonies for Road Of Solid Gold. A unique and successful experiment.
Good Old Days and Distance Brings Us Closer both rue better times in the past but the latter manages to express how thinking of those we miss will make relationships stronger in the future again. Naturally, both are delivered with heartwarming vocals and acoustic folk tones.
There appears to be a theme running through many of the tracks and in particular, Kingdom Falls, where companionship, collaboration with others and partnership are the elements that build a protective wall of friendship around us and assists in avoiding or surviving life’s disasters. This is replicated in their vocal performances; they are all extremely competent solo singers as Tamsin shows in Hope Cove and Oaks but when they sing together the precise harmonies are assured and expressive as modelled in Silent Noise in the Mind.
What is intriguing about their songs is that they can create straightforward tales and thought-provoking lyrics. They also have, like their album title, a subtle cryptic element. The light and heavier instrumentations are chosen appropriately to fit a jolly or a solemn frame of mind.
But it’s those sometimes sweet delicate, sometimes dynamic harmonies that are the main feature. This makes the album stand equally amongst well known harmonic bands like; CSN, The Beach Boys, Four Seasons and The Young’Uns.
We were recently honoured with the presence of The Lost Trades writing about one of their favourite albums celebrating it’s 50th birthday. Not only did they write about Cat Stevens’ Teaser & The Firecat but they recorded and exclusive version of one of the songs from the album, just for us! You can check it out here.
Check out Distance Brings Us Closer from The Lost Trades, below.