The Straw Bear Band – Eccentric Heart
Rif Mountain – 2017
The Eccentric Heart limited-edition disc forms the somewhat belated appearance of what might be referred to as the “lost” 2011 album recorded by self-styled “acoustic power trio” The Straw Bear Band (comprising lyricist/vocalist Dom Cooper, guitarist/arranger Lewis Hill and percussionist/producer Adam Lambert); its tracks were shelved at the time following Adam’s untimely sudden death.
The songs have their origins in a 2007 project, and present a sequence of individual stories of not-exactly-famous British eccentrics from all walks of life, all told in the first person – in other words, from the heart (as it were). Subjects range from peer/politician Lord Cecil (Sussex Snakes) and farmer John Allington (Leopard Skin Sermons, as featured on Folk Radio UK’s latest mix) to physician Erasmus Darwin (Lunar Light) and witch Joan Flower (Trial by Bread and Butter), while arguably the most unusual is Thomas Birch (Treeman, Fisherman), a librarian who dressed as a tree to go fishing! The musical idiom is one of immediacy and power, bright and convivial garage-folk with pop-style hooks and melodies. The core trio is joined variously by (among others) Jason Steel, Nancy Wallace and Mark Roberts, and this whole mini-album contains much that’s both appealing and memorable.
RM016CD Hand numbered edition of 99. Available Now via Rif Mountain