Based in Hackney, the bluegrass-flavoured folk-rock quartet Ramshackle Union Band wear their influences boldly. From the moment they launch into opening number Sally Moore, it’s obvious that Fairport and,. more particularly, Richard Thompson looms large, singer Tom Bull doing his best to emulate Thompson’s slightly strangled vocals. The same holds true, vocally and melodically, of Familiar Tone (which indeed it has), the acoustic waltzing Lullaby For The Lost (which has echoes of How Will I Ever Be Simple Again), Head For The Hills and, the catchiest number, the banjo accompanied, The Wreck I Am.
Thompson’s not the only resonating echo. As you’ll hear from Six For Five, they’re also fond of The Band, so much so they went to great lengths to record in a studio that would give them the Levon Helm drum sound while Golden Days and Evergreen both carry the influence of Neil Young, the latter especially in its guitar work.
It’s solid stuff and certainly won’t disappoint, but if they’re looking to really make their mark, they need to do it with a sound that’s recognisably their own rather than recognisably that of their heroes.
Review by: Mike Davies
Self released March 10