Wired for sound….

This far down the road of what gets called Americana but is really just folk music, it is hard to come up with something fresh and new. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of really talented people out there making great music, it is just more that a new slant is hard to find.

Step forward then, Martin Harley and Daniel Kimbro, because what they’ve managed on “Static In The Wires” is positively invigorating.

Across the 11 songs that make up this brilliant collection – the duo’s second as a pairing -there are so many twists and turns it is difficult to know where to begin, so the start seems the best place. “One Horse Town” has a delta blues vibe, and with Harley meshing with Kimboro – a bass player extraordinaire – superbly, this is something truly special.

Recorded live over four, evidently incredibly productive, days there is a freshness about the songs. “Feet Don’t Fail Me” captures country perfectly, and there is real heartbreak in the words of “Postcards From Hamburg” which features harmony vocals to incredible effect.

“Gold” is another to occupy a dark space, not unlike Whiskeytown might have managed with Ryan Adams at his most vulnerable and “Sweet and Low” is quite simply a gorgeous song and a real example of the fine skill in Harley’s writing.

Indeed, the middle section of the record offers some real stripped down gems. “My Lovers Arms” brings some magnificent guitar – Harley played a 100 year old Hawaiian lap guitar in making this album and this coupled with the analogue production makes it sound as authentic as the songs are superb.

There is some dazzling playing here too. “Dancing On The Rocks” brings with it a storm of acoustic fury, and the jazz infused “Trouble” is like a throwback to the prohibition era, while “This Little Bird” is perfect for 3am in the dark when you are cold and truly alone.

On an album this strong picking a favourite is as pointless as it is unfair. Such a thing changes with each passing listen, but on the listen that coincided with writing this review, the track “I Need A Friend” with its mighty chorus resonated most, but really saying one of these is any better than the other is a thankless and stupid task.

Better instead to just revel in its glory and as “Mean Old City Pt 2” – just vocals, sparing guitar and double bass – ends this, just reflect on the idea that any song which contains  (as this does) the line “the good times are killing me” is perhaps the perfect soundtrack for the world in 2017.

This is a phenomenal record and one which is aptly named. “Static In The Wires” crackles with a rare electricity.

Rating 9/10


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