Reader all about it.
Depending on your age, there are various guises you may recall Eddi Reader from. Two decades ago, she was the sprightly lead singer with Fairground Attraction who clogged up the charts and the nation's vocabulary with infuriatingly catchy 'Perfect.' Those maybe too young possibly recall her solo success of the 1990s, with 'Patience of Angels' showcasing her impressive vocal talent and maturity as she found success yet again. Those whose musical landscape is only charted from very recent times may have became aware of her work in the folk scene. In Scotland, Eddi has once again became a well respected artist and familiar face, and her latest album 'Peactime' shows her once again reaching back and bringing together traditional music and tales to create a fully fledged record.
Hearing Reader sing about CCTV cameras on 'Muddy Waters' a track that musically could be placed anytime in the folk scene or history jolts the listener into life and places the track into a modern perspective, whereas otherwise, it could be considered timeless. Another nod to the modern world is found in 'Prisons' (the song, not the institutions) with the guitar line being reminiscent of The Smiths 'Girlfriend In A Coma.'
One likeable thing about the album is the sleeve notes, which alongside the lyrics; tell a little about the tracks history and what it means to Reader. In a recent interview with RoomThirteen, it was obvious that this record, and indeed her current career, is a labour of love to Reader and it really shows in her vocal delivery. Theres a joy and warmth to the songs that clearly shine from the vocals and this mood is ably backed up by the backing instrumentation, which allows the songs to wrap around the listener. It may be easy to dismiss folk music because its not now or edgy or sexy or whatever reasons may be given but there is a classic quality to this record that should be enjoyed by all.
Utilising a full range of folk instruments, there may be no technical wizardry but with the fiddle and accordion adding authentic feeling to the arrangements, its not as if there is anything the songs lack or could be improved by. Perhaps it conveys the stereotypical view of folkies but the relaxed feel of the music allows the stories to be told, which was one of the main points of the origins of these songs. To convey emotions and ideas and tales in a time when the written word was not as easily at hand as it is today, and it's a tribute to Reader and her band that they've managed to recreate so much in a contemporary manner without losing out on anything.
Perhaps a disservice is being done to regular RoomThirteen readers but its likely that the description of the music will leave many readers cold and that's always going to be fair enough – its unlikely that many of Readers current fans will be lapping up the reviews of Klaxons or My Chemical Romance but theres no reason why common ground cant be found. This lies in the melodies and charm of the songs on show – if you learn anything about history or how people used to live then that can only be a bonus.