Paper Box is the opening track from Ben Calvert & The Swifts latest release ‘Festive Road‘, the deep sonorous cello playing alongside Calvert’s introspective and often melancholic vocals offer the perfect picture window to redeeming an era of sound from the likes of Nick Drake, something that resonates throughout the album. His voice has a quirky edge that is reminiscent of a male Vashti Bunyan and the lushly orchestrated music, courtesy of The Swifts, keeps an equilibrium that works really well.
The musical arrangements are moulded around Ben with a helping hand from prouducer Bob Lamb (Ocean Colour Scene) and Dave McCabe, but the orchestral sounding magic rests with his band who have a really rich full sound. The uplifting violin on ‘Where the Wind Blows’ contrast perfectly to sombre toned vocals. You find yourself going through a slight re-adjustment on first listen after which the album begins to grow on you, it’s a nice place to be. Calvert’s biopic doesn’t hide this:
…an album that takes Post-Folk as it’s base then nods schizophrenically in the direction of both Scott Walker’s darkest moments and Syd Barrett at his most LSD-soaked and child-like.
All comparisons aside this is an enjoyable album, if you like your folk music served up with a splash of dark psychedelia then give it a go, it has a charm about it that makes it a lot warmer than you expect…a nice surprising grower that will draw you in, a bit special!
Ben Calvert: Vocals, Guitar.
Hannah Lawson: Violin.
Saul Hillier: Bass.
Dave McCabe: Guitar.
Carlo Solazzo: Drums.