Sunday 23 December 2012

General Sherman - Tales Of Noddy's House

EP review by

One of the scenes that has characterised this year in underground music has been the alt-folk movement in the north-east of England. We've lost count of the number of great bands we've featured who used antiquated and acoustic instruments to create their own more authentic and inventive take on the nu-folk explosion that sprung up around London a few years ago. Free from the trappings of being scenesters or part of any Brit School led movement, towns and cities like Stockton, Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Sunderland have supplied us with a steady stream of carefully thought out, natural sounding songs. One of the year's final releases (out December 28th) is this new EP from Middlesbrough band General Sherman which was, they tell us, written over six years and recorded in two weeks.

Again authenticity and the organic nature of the recording and production are the keys to the success of 'Tales From Noddy's House'. The track 'Noddy's House' sounds like a live recording, and for all we know it could have been done in one take, but that's what gives life to such a subtle song. Violin leads the equally pensive 'Bare Jokes', and you begin to see why a winter release was perfect for these cosy, candle-lit tales; they're ideal for short days and long nights indoors with friends, especially given the occasionally unusual and dark subject matter. The instrumental track 'General Sherman' is a highlight, lit up by flute and plucked guitar, it wraps around you like a warm blanket. The outlook gets bleaker on 'Why Rage The Heathen Furiously' which sounds as though it could be a new arrangement of a long forgotten folk story, and then it's left 'Sweet Spot' to round off the EP, we still can't decide whether this song is rude or not. We'll leave you to be the judge.

Stream the EP in full at General Sherman's website

Pre-order the EP

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