Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
“This day shall gentle his condition…” but only if at first they take in the songs from The Drystones’ new album We Happy Few.
The sense of history and moment of inspiration is not lost upon the Somerset based duo, living in a time of such political and social upheaval, to find time to even think or contemplate a moment in which happiness is concrete, a freely acquired gift with no strings attached, save the prospect of the battle ahead, the war that only mad men and the righteous can ever hope of winning.
We Happy Few, a poster for those willing to see just what the battle means, to see the beyond the time when a war is ever contemplated and perhaps ever needed to be fought, is punctuated by the high riffs of Ford Collier and Alex Garden as they strike through the walls of 21st Century tension and the reality of aspects of government decreed cruelty with music that is infatuating and positive, a world garnered by the happy few with dreams beyond the ordinary.
The tone of the album reflects the title, and aside from the tremendous cover of Martin Carthy’s My Son John which is a testament to the brooding nature within us all, even those skilled in projecting a happy face to a world hell bent on souring and causing as much harm as possible, the passion of the piece is clever, inventive and without the feeling of solitude that can pepper an album if not caught right, if not performed in such a way that it can only be played in the darkness of an empty room at full volume.
In tracks such as the aforementioned My Son John, The Cheshire Set, Man of Words, Katy Cruel and Hole in the Wall, The Drystones eagerly embrace the ambitious design and the comfort of the industrious folk and completely set themselves up to follow their first recording, The Album, Or What You Will, with absolute endeavour and remarkable spirit.
An album of good grace and friendship, of high performance and unquenchable thirst; We Happy Few can only embrace the feeling with warmth and abundant good cheer.
Ian D. Hall