Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. This time we’re rating experimentalfolk outfit Stick In The Wheel‘s latest release, ‘Follow Them True’, hitting shelves via From Here Records.
Folk is a genre steeped in, and defined by, tradition – so any group wishing to innovate within the style must somehow navigate transcendence of the genre’s tropes whilst still retaining its key characteristics. London five piece Stick In The Wheel manages just that with their second long player, ‘Follow Them True’ – an impressive example of just what unexpected work can be done within the remits of folk with a little imagination and a willingness to push-the-envelope. The instrumentation is typically traditional and the lyrical themes, too, spin the kind of engaging, taut yarns which the genre has produced for centuries. It’s in the composition and execution that Stick In The Wheel change things up though. The rapid fire delivery of ‘White Copper Alley’ suggests some sort of mischievous folk-rap hybrid whilst the textural, electronic palettes of the title track and ‘As I Roved Out’ likewise find the band putting their own spin on an age-old style of music. ‘Follow Them True’ is a unique record and one that sees the band tackle old themes in an intriguing new way.
Cut on a solid, hefty slab of wax, the pressing certainly feels high quality. Housed in a generic paper inner sleeve, there was some debris on the playing surface upon removal from the sleeve but that was cleaned off with a carbon fibre brush without problem. Playback is clean throughout; the noise floor is very minimal and generally play is free of surface noise, apart from a few minor crackles every now and then – none of which are loud enough to distract from the music, which is pressed onto wax in such a way that cranking the volume isn’t needed to get decently loud playback. Sonically it’s punchy with the intricate, snaking guitar lines boasting a solid body and presence and the vocals having an equal presence. Well cut with smooth edges, this is a well made record and great way to hear the album.
Housed in a gatefold sleeve, the album’s striking cover art is well presented here; a thematically fitting inner gatefold spread is likewise printed with good definition. The spine is fairly thick and the font is bold so it’s not a release that is likely to be illusive when sitting on the shelf. As we mentioned before, the record is stored in a plain paper sleeve from new so we recommend ditching that and changing it for a poly-lined inner – but other than that, presentation is solid throughout.
‘Follow Them True’ is a great album and a fresh, vivid entry into the current brit-folk scene. It’s a well pressed release and those intrigued by the band’s unique attitude would be well served by this vinyl issue.
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