The Memory Band played richly textured, mild-mannered guitar-based folk music with some influences from vintage British folk and folk-rock on Apron Strings, their second album. Instrumentally, they’re most distinguished from other acts working in similar territory by their prominent use of both violin and viola, usually in the same track. Listen to the opening instrumental, a version of the traditional warhorse “Blackwaterside,” and you’ll be reminded of Donovan songs like “The Fat Angel,” though the vibe is here relayed in a more detached, somber fashion. There’s some other traditional material on the album too (as well as an unexpected cover of Ronnie Lane’s “The Poacher”), though most often the songs are the work of guitarist-founder Stephen Cracknell, and convey an autumnal, slightly melancholic outlook. The use of both male and female vocals (Cracknell and Nancy Wallace being the most prominent contributors in that regard) helps vary the moods, but the singing, and to a lesser degree the playing, would benefit from some more intensity and emotion. – Richie Unterbergermore »
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