The long-awaited new BarlowCree album is out now!
Broadsword review FATEA Folk Magazine
BarlowCree – the duo of Liam Millinship and Johnny Matthews out of Cardiff. Known for performing their own songs amidst adaptations of traditional folk songs. And an apt tile too; broadsword indeed – a double edged (and naturally, broad) blade in human form. Given the X Factor and house buying test of ‘you know within the first few seconds’, they get the thumbs up seal of approval. The opening bars of ‘General Wolfe’ deliver the goods, so prepare to sit back, relax and enjoy rather than face a test of endurance.
Launching into a driving Lakeman-Knightley South West folk style in the first of a half dozen adaptations of traditionally lyric-ed songs, both ‘…Wolfe’ and ‘The Lass Of Swansea Town’ segue seamlessly into the first of a selection of originals, the Millinship guitar/bouzouki ringing , nay pealing, clearly on the gorgeous ‘Crashing’. To be honest, the opening trio is a combo that prove difficult to resist flicking the repeat button on the old CD scanner. Great start.
The originals don’t vary too much from the tried and tested – ‘Queen And Country’, a sailing tale complete with hauling away and calling horizons and ‘Man Of Steel’ (not Clark Kent…) is a lilting homage to the strength and hardships of the working man whilst at the same offering fatherly advice. They lead ‘Broadsword’ in a more mid paced direction on its journey to the close with the intimately delivered and stately ‘Starry Night’. It might ultimately turn out to be a smoother ride than anticipated from the lively pace set by the early highlights as the album settles down to not quite sedate, but a more relaxed vein. Nonetheless, there’s enough in the promising combination of the traditional with the self written material to give them another foothold to building their audience.
Debut album, released 24th July 2011. Buy it here for £8.75…
Holystone review in FATEA Folk Magazine
They’re very adept as storytellers (check out their treatments of two Welsh folk tales, Mallt-y-Nos and The Devil And The Cobbler), but they come into their own on the album’s bookending songs The Quay and My Heart Is Ashore (both depicting a love gone to sea) and especially the epic San José (recounting the plight of the Chilean miners); the gently touching All Is Well is a lovely anthem of reassurance and hope, emphasising the generally uplifting mood of the disc.
The positive and heartfelt nature of the duo’s lyrics is by and large matched by a strong melodic content, often with a strong Show Of Hands feel to boot, so on this showing BarlowCree can be judged an act to watch out for. And they get extra brownie points for providing the song lyrics (and some brief notes) on their website.
Taplas review of Holystone
“Of the 10 tracks on their first CD, three are traditional songs, Newfoundland, The Blind Harper and a great version of Lord Franklin, and seven are self-penned...Their songwriting shows real talent. San Jose, from the standpoint of one of the trapped Chilean miners, is quite brilliant.”