The Travelling Band – The Big Defreeze
The opening line of album number three from Manchester's folk rock stalwarts serves notice of an unexpectedly dark outlook. “There is a man in my dream, knocking on my door / I never know what face to give him,” sings Jo Dudderidge. Their labelling as Brit exponents of prime Americana, encouraged, perhaps, by that awkwardly generic moniker, has surely done The Travelling Band more harm than good over the years.
Despite its intriguing opening, The Big Defreeze has a chipper pop sensibility that largely overwrites legacy influences. Despite this stylistic shift, it’s still a sharply crafted and distinct collection, though not without the odd lyrical clunker – “Like a sunrise in slow motion, I’m hanging above your ocean” (25 Hours) is one cliché too far. Ultimately, if it had chosen to further develop the band's rootsier beginnings, The Big Defreeze might have been more of a compelling proposition.