Folk music can been defined in many ways, but one common consensus is that folk music should be about one’s environment and it should sound like that environment. The latest album by the Ree-Vahs titled ‘Geordieland’ has hit the mark, to my ear they have made a truly authentic folk album. However this does make for an album that flirts dangerously close to being cliche. But I think this may be deliberate, especially after I notice the phonetic spelling of the opening track ‘No One Naas Us Anymore’.
Each word of every song is delivered with clear precise pronunciation that is teeming with regional tones. And with this album being title ‘Geordieland’, you don’t need to think too hard what that region may be. The album gets its title from the second track which tells of Newcastle’s nightlife, focusing on the Stag and Hen parties that descend on the city’s nightclubs each weekend. Rarely does folk music cross paths with modern youth culture, it is refreshing to hear. Another song in a similar vein is ‘Love To Be Your Lover’, don’t be mislead by the sentimental title, this song is about the relationship between a man and his favorite stripper. The charm of these two songs is that despite their content (Night Clubs & Strip Cubs which are often frowned upon) these songs have a positive perspective. Geordieland makes Newcastle’s nightlife sound like one big party, and Love To Be your Lover finds romance (or at least the hope for romance) in an otherwise seedy environment. There are many songs of Love on this album but ‘Until I Fall Off This Earth’ sounds distinctly different to the rest of the album. This is a stripped back arrangement with only a piano for musical accompaniment. This put more emphasis on Andy Loan’s vocal which becomes more theatrical, his delivery is similar to what you’d expect of a show tune.
For the casual listener, this album will secure any stereotypes one may have formed about a Folk band based in the North East of England. However the contemporary songwriting adds new life to this tradition folk album.
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