Orfila, Never Slowin’ Down. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

It is a big step up from debut to the sheer scale of the so called difficult second album, the strides that need to be taken to ensure that the music continues to flow, that the result is heard with open ended honesty and the hunger just at the right level so it does not seem as if the band is gnawing at a bone which is exposed and bare; all its trapping and furs removed. It is an album that needs to see progression yet still be rooted enough in the same beauty that transfixed the original fans; to speed up and to shout out with guts and determination that they are Never Slowin’ Down.

For the threesome that make up the tremendous Orfila, Abi, Louise and Matt, the sound of Nashville mixed with the loving grace of the English country preserve is one that has matured beyond expectation, it is a symbol of generosity of the music that has widened, expanded into a realm of spirited amplification and effortless vocals.

The sound of the U.K. country music may at times seem tame compared to the romantic image on offer across the rough and ready ocean, it perhaps is simpler, less dynamic, less sharp in focus and with less social wrongs to explore. However, in the hands of Orfila that gap is narrowed, it might still seem an expanse that is only to be crossed with great care but in the hands of these three talented souls, it is an expanse that comes with a well placed bridge, a walkway high enough above the rage and swell of water and with a handy sense of British fortitude shielding them from any excess that the States might tempt them with.

The music on Never Slowin’ Down is both enjoyably and unmistakably Nashville but with the prose of the British pastoral firmly entrenched in its deep heart; it is big blue skies country but with rustic charm of a green meadow, idyllic pastures and the babbling brook of the rolling vocal hills of home.

In tracks such as It Would Be You, Fine Tooth Comb, Hit The Ground Running and Raise A Glass, Orfila resolutely raise the bar from their scintillatingly pleasant debut album and ask the listener to accompany them once more round the block, the Nashville sky blossoming and the smell of the British rural area offering a great mix in which to bless this new country sound.

Ian D. Hall