Boomkat Product Review:
Laura Cannell invites Stewart Lee, foghorn fetishist Jennifer Lucy Allen, Irish cellist Kate Ellis, and musician/writer Polly Wright to the table for a suite of haunting, real and imagined musical lanndscapes
Laura’s follow-up to her superb ‘Sing As The Crow Flies’ album with Polly Wright, and unexpected synth-pops as Hunteress for our Documenting Sound series, ‘These Feral Lands, Vol.1’ tells tales recorded in the respective isolation during lockdown. It notably features Lee finding his voice as a folk story teller and possessed scarecrow, nervily set to bleeding raw string dissonance and black country blues, and wickedly contrasting with the more dreamlike and lamenting works, all brought to life by Cannell, Ellis, and Wright’s remarkably descriptive instrumentals.
Writer and researcher Jennifer Lucy Allen recites a poem to Laura’s swirling fiddle on a highlight, ‘Vessel’, and we’re rapt by the two solo instrumental pieces, Kate Ellis’ keening elegy ‘Inhabited: The Last Wild Wolf In Ireland’, and the A Field In England-esque doom to Polly’s ‘Gather The Villagers’. But it’s really all held together by Stewart Lee’s turns with Cannell & Ellis, shapeshifting from Wyatt-like, to spoken word, and Worzel-ish across the album, reflecting on his roots in the Welsh marshes and the Norfolk/Suffolk borders, with equally were-like backing.
When Brexit kicks in and we’re down to 2 hours of leccie a day, we can only hope people start making more music like this.