Keston Cobblers Club – Alchemy: Album Review

Another shot of much appreciated bright and breezy inspiration from Keston Cobblers Club.

Release Date: 22nd April 2022

Label: Absolute

Format: digital / CD / LP

Another dose of, the so often quoted it’s become their catchphrase, ‘rambunctious joyous folk’ from Keston Cobblers Club. Add a little Indie Pop to the mix and KCC have their own little niche that heads off on a small branch line from the main trad. folk routes.

Alchemy is an album that’s invariably cheery and upbeat, the thirteen (and a bonus for CD buyers) tracks offering up more than one chance to shake a leg on the famous Cobblers dance floor. Even for the more outlying members of the fanbase whose tastes may run to the more traditional subgenres, Alchemy should prove pretty irresistible to a bit of the olde English static chair dancing, tapping of feet or slapping of the thigh.

The brass that makes regular appearances in the cobbler’s arrangements is the signal not for a rub of melancholy, but for upping and at ’em. With the swinging and swaying and insistent tapping rhythms nagging away, the opening flurry of songs proves impossible not to bob the shoulders to. There’s a light and colourful road to Rigmarole (a great word which people should use more often) and the lovely Summery string arrangement and acoustic shuffle on Jupiter where the ‘la-la-la-ing’ certainly adds to the lightness and wonderment. Those strings continue into both the romantic waltz of Eglantine and Lullaby For The Wide Awake as a gentle and soothing alternative with the easy vocal part on the latter echoing the sentiment of the song title.

A constant flow of bouncy and punchy tunes continue, with the choral vocal parts playing their parts while we indulge in and a little Mariachi brass and percussive uke on The Holiday and Strangers Now sees them skirt the common ground where you;d find Arcade Fire lite, samba band and Kate Bush via a little Lion King vocal chant.

Their brassy vein gets thoroughly mined in Tarantula almost to the extent that the band turn into Keston Soul Club and having referenced Disney earlier, there’s a little sparkle of Disney cheer in the album closer No, You Are Not Alone. And a quick mention for the bonus of Josephine’s Routine that surely deserves more than a place on the bench. The gallop and tempo, the strings and brass a sure fire festival audience raiser.

Ultimately, and almost as a matter of course, Keston Cobblers Club come good with an album that’s an antidote to times of hardship and trouble. Unfailingly charming, packed with fun, joie de vivre and sunny day freshness.

Here’s the first single from the album, what sounds to us like a little quirky Beatle-y thing, Mrs Dixon:

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