By Richard Thompson Band
Most people will know Richard Thompson as a stalwart of the British folk-revival scene and of course of Fairport Convention, the fore-runners of the uniquely British scene. The folk-revival is credited for assisting in the modernity of what many youths thought to be an archaic art form, folk music. Richard Thompson is still continuing his own tradition of moving the boundaries of folk music into a variety of territories and in recent times has enjoyed flirtations with rock music, for example 2007's 'Sweet Warrior.'
'Dream Attic' is an album based around a rather interesting concept of recording a live album of completely new recordings so it holds the fresh excitement of a new studio record but with a live atmosphere, perhaps a reflection of the current state of the music industry where the live experience is increasingly becoming the main source of income for labels and musicians alike. The highly applauding crowd seem to enjoy the new songs even though they are being exposed to it for the first time and to have such raw fresh appeal is enticing to the listener at home. The applause also works in a Brechtian fashion, constantly reminding you this is a live album, which I know all live albums do, but the fact this the new record probably originally conceived to be studio-recorded, you are allowed to escape into songs before the fact you're not there with the band is asserted, it can be a slightly nullifying blow.
The album opens with a unique observation of the banking and financial situation we are all too aware of in the form of the song 'The Money Shuffle' which is full of delightful little cynical outputs to amuse and awaken many a dissident feeling. My favourite line of the song is its cynical opening: "I love kittens and little babies / can't you see that's the guy I am and you money is so safe with me / you've never met such an honest man" perhaps this is a nod to a certain blue-brand of politician or banker.
'Here Comes Geordie' feels like a classic Thompson song reminiscent of Fairport with its brash folk identity brazened with tin whistle and violins with a rock painted sky that gels together at a place that sits right to the ear. The rhythmic play accenting different beats brings colour to the song, aiding in spinning the yarn of the folk story. The song seems to explore a fictional celebrity with an ego bigger than the planet, creating a succinct commentary of celebrity culture in Britain, but in the form of a humorous folk song. Thompson highlights the hypocrisy of self-righteous figures in the public-eye, evident in lyrics such as "He'd chop down the forest just to save a tree."
'Demons in her Dancing Shoes' is a folk rock masterpiece with folk lyricism flourished and dressed up in rocker clothing with an electric guitar solo from any classic rock band you can think of. In this track we are also treated to a violin interlude with a militaristic drum beat which pins folk to the floorboards of the song.
What I like about this album is that it does something new with old ideas, it is progressive, it makes the genre of folk closer to the state of a timeless genre that can weather many a musical storm. This album is a good purchase for a virgin folkie, something for someone who wants to look forward and back to a traditional form which is a national music. This alum is not a political album, it is a merely observing what is in front of us in the media today. This record is full of little stories about today, tomorrow and last week and well worth a few plays on whatever music playing device you possess.