With the band’s new album comes a new line-up of musicians to accompany the vox and guitar of Joe Murphy. On cello and bass is Jon Clayton, Eilish McCracken is on violin and whistle, while Martin Parker is on drums. The end result is the band’s best, most cohesive album to-date. There’s a strong folk vibe with the traditional string backdrop, while the song writing is much more tuneful and interesting.
The opening track, Swallows, represents a stunning opening with its subtle acoustic arrangement, powerful melody, lovely vocal and strong lyrics. It’s a haunting, accessible, and highly original song that comes close to being one of the most beautiful heard in 2006. The second track, It’s Not What You’ve Got It’s What You Give It To, with its gorgeous violin passages, offers a slightly more contemplative vibe and pace, and is no less beautiful. Murphy covers a diverse range of subject matter on the album that includes politics, love, and even the papacy (in some detail). The Television Will Not Be Revolutionised is a narrative on the current status of TV, personalities and spin, and is devastatingly effective. It also reveals the album’s only weakness which is that lyrical content can only be heard with great effort, with production preferring to highlight the album’s strong instrumental quality. The next track, Pour It From The Kettle, is a little better in this regard but it’s far from perfect. Windscreen Wipers is another highly original song with a jagged rhythm, slow pace and welcoming focus on the vocal that reveals another intelligent and interesting set of lyrics. Who Are You is an epic track with sweeping, dramatic violin making the opening statement before the vocal enters. It’s an incredible, rampant-paced track that builds in pace and drama as it races along. The album concludes with a papal history lesson that is stunning in its detail and impact. Here Comes The Popes Part 1 (1st Millenium) is a highly controversial song that highlights the dark and inhuman side of the papal succession, and this time Murphy ensures that every word is clearly heard in front of a gently plucked guitar.
Sergeant Buzfuz has struck gold with this album; it’s inventive and highly accessible which is no mean feat. 2006 has proved that the UK can still create highly original, great music that will unfortunately lie undiscovered by the masses because of the mainstream play-list policies of radio and TV producers. THE JEWELLED CARRIAGEWAY is a gem of an album that deserves to be heard by an audience hungry for quality and originality. Here’s hoping…