Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Clearwater by No Fixed Abode

Clearwater cover art

Artist: No Fixed Abode
Title: Clearwater
Catalogue Number: NFA200701
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007

Call me a stubborn Jock if you will, but I've always been blind to the notion that an English band could possibly conjure up the Celtic flavour necessary for the making of a fine folk-rock album. Scotland has Runrig; Wales has The Bluehorses; Ireland had Planxty.

Okay, there are several blatant exceptions (Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention, and most notably, The Pogues), but until recently, I would have had no problem saying that the English are not on par with the Celtic nations as far as folk-rock is concerned. However, I was quick to eat my words upon hearing "Clearwater" by Derbyshire duo No Fixed Abode, who have - with a little help from their friends - proven that English folk-rock does in fact exist.

"What Did I Do?" evokes immediate thoughts of Runrig. The beatific vocals of Una Walsh immediately court the ears, and with good cause. Una's musical partner, Tony Dean, provides a competent backing on acoustic guitar. Do we have a partnership of particular appeal in the making?

I am of the opinion that we do. "Kebab Crazed Nutter" is a woe-begotten condemnation of the ill-behaved deviants who crave lamb meat on a Saturday night. This song confused Bluesbunny, but we decided that it carried just enough musical quality to allow us to ignore the lyrics. A more sensitive soul might take offence.

The similarities to Runrig run throughout the album. "Sunne Days" takes an unexpected turn to the blues. This proves to be no bad thing, as it offers a little variety to the album without sounding out of place.

Folk music has its enthusiasts, and this album will go down nicely as a pleasant gathering of Celtic-tinged folk tunes. Nothing that will set the plaid on fire, but an enjoyable album from start to finish.
Review Date: March 26 2008