We first came across the Moulettes back in 2010 when we interviewed them at Open House Festival in Belfast. That seems like a long time ago now and their latest album ‘The Bear’s Revenge’ is testament to a band who continue to take their music to new reaches.
‘The Bear’s Revenge’ features an extension of band members to include guests in the form of Ted Dwane (ex-Moulette and Mumford and Sons bass player), the fabulous Liz Green (vocals), Laura Hockenhall (vocals), Rioghnach Connolly (Irish flute and whistle) and Matt Menefee (Banjo player from Cadillac Sky). This addition of guests is well placed for this album is literally unlike any other and deserves celebration!
Their arrangements on their last album reflected their diverse influences from folk and classical to prog-rock, it was difficult to see how they could better that sound, but they have. Their musical and vocal prowess is jaw-dropping and it is the context in which they use these talents on this album that make this album so perfectly original and visionary.
From the opening track ‘Sing Unto Me’ they set the scene, the harmonies calling to mind an old pagan England and a touch of psychedelia. The melodies and acoustic driving rhythms race a long with touches of Balkan violin and numerous other little nuances that go to make up the Moulettes recipe! Guest musician Matt Menefee adds some American roots with his banjo on ‘Country Joy,’ a tale of erotic destiny. The pace abates for ‘Some Who You Love’ which slows to a waltz with Hannah Miller’s sonerous cello bringing a stillness that accentuates the beautiful vocal harmonies. These really come to the fore on achingly lovely ‘Songbird’. For the finale ‘Blood & Thunder’ features Liz Green in a completely new light, far removed from her more stripped back music. Variety is something that is never lacking with the Moulettes and The Bear’s Revenge is no exception.
Lyrically the album is rich and intelligent, songs unfold an alternative fairy-tale like world; one of rejoicing, chaos, eroticism, myths, escapes, siren songs, loss and discovery. As the lyrics on Unca’s Dance celebrate the nature of chaos “A different map for every juncture – What’s around the corner? Humankind collide the road divides, Trajectories subtly altered…” so the Moulettes throw the unexpected twist and turn into their fairytales.
Their sound palette is colourful, playful and unexpected; as soon as you think you know the destiny of a song they will take it in a new one. Comparisons to the likes of Pentangle don’t do them justice, the layers and strands of each track are far more complex which combine a multitude of influences that place them outside any obvious genre and those layers continue to deepen on each new listen. These are intense and beautiful compositions, a masterful album, how they will top it I have no idea but I won’t hold my breath.
To celebrate ‘The Bear’s Revenge’ we have an exclusive unreleased live video for you to enjoy:
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