Melrose Quartet, Dominion. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Dylan Thomas might have found the juxtaposition intriguing, that he spoke of that Death shall have no Dominion, is in deep contrast to the feel that Sheffield’s Melrose Quartet offer as they offer a significant sense of praise to humanity in their album Dominion.

The urge to Raise Your Voice is one that is woven through the vibrancy of the Sheffield based band’s 14 track offering, the natural passion of the harmony in the four members, Richard Arrowsmith Nancy Kerr, James Fagan and Jess Arrowsmith is such that it brings forth the emotions of rapt joy and desperate longing into deep focus. The intensity between the voice and the music is almost like hearing the sounds of nature dance with command and the amazing flourish of the planets at play; the power at play is influential and one that gets the listener inspired enough to feel as they too, can at least raise their voice in anger, in love, at the world we find ourselves in.

In tracks such A Generous Man/Carthy’s March, the sublime Anthem of a Working Mum, the superb instrumentals of Low Quebec, the sadness of loss in someone so locally popular in Davy Cross and the finale of Raise Your Voice, the quartet take the roots of their music and give the listener once again a sense of the beguiling beauty that such music from times past can offer but with the modern approach, lyrics that turn in their political prowess so effortlessly that it is hard to understand why anyone would argue with them; this is made abundantly clear in the Martin Carthy song Dominion of the Sword.

Melrose Quartet is perhaps not meant to be heard with a sentimental ear but it is one that frames the ideal of giving all forms of music the authority in which they must reside, live and breathe; without that authority the listener’s choices become narrow, rigid and frighteningly suspect.

Dominion is not a closed minded affair in which to be afraid, it is the acceptance of the cause that made their 2014 Folk Award nominated album Fifty Verses such a richly dynamic piece and in which this set of songs and instrumental pieces rightly emulate.

Ian D. Hall