The Crooked Fiddle Band – Overgrown Tales
With titles inspired by sixteenth century serial killers, Coppélia and Tolkien, The Crooked Fiddle Band stay true to their third album’s title, tapping into a rich storytelling seam despite the largely instrumental nature of their music. Recorded last year with Steve Albini, Overgrown Tales sounds global and timeless, its roll call of instruments (including tapan, bouzouki and nyckelharpa) indicating the scope of their influences.
Albini’s characteristically hands-off anti-production initially seems an ill-fit for such nuanced music, but as exhaustingly-paced tracks like All These Pitchforks Make Me Nervous tumble from the speakers, the match makes sense: to apply a greater degree of studio sheen would muffle one of their most pronounced qualities, namely their frenetic dynamism. This is comfortably the Sydney quartet’s most ambitious release to date, with the relentless fiddle riffs of The Mountain Hag’s Advice sitting closer to heavy metal than folk, and What the Thunder Said delivering an appropriately epic finale. [Chris Buckle]