Review by Tamsin Rosewell, presenter of My Folk and their Friends, Radio Warwickshire.
To the outside world there seem to be two types of folk groups: those who want to be properly folky, steeped in a rich and complex history of regional variations and traditional instruments, and those who choose to do whatever they think is interesting whether or not it is covered in the hallowed dust of Cecil Sharp House. Supine Orchestra falls unapologetically, and with little burbles of glee, into this second category. And yet it suffuses as much warmth and humanity as you would find in the best of our old songs.
Marek’s Camp is the third album from this Coventry-based group, and I love every track on it. The vocals glide from gorgeously plush in opening track Manatee – like the kind of silk velvet they don’t make any more – to the pleasingly coarse to complement the fearlessly direct lyrics of Black Funky Metal. The lyrics are a class act all by themselves; they conjure up a series of images, from the brightly coloured and comic invitation to ‘put your book down and come drinking with me’ (The Grand Union), to the warm and romantic ‘born to be caught in the pull of your Saturn eyes’ (Laces), but they are consistently very sweet and brimming with charm and affection.
There is something deeply humanist about this collection of songs. Beyond the direct comments: ‘Torch a church, it makes you feel better, Hail Satan, then blame the weather’ (Black Funky Metal), and the gently inserted Biblical references: ‘as the first arrive to cast their stone’ (Nice for Jorge), there is something essentially human and social rather than spiritual about Marek’s Camp. You won’t find ethereal folksiness here; the references are to rucksacks full of purple sweet wrappers (Bucket Full of Ordinary) and being wrapped up in a string of electric lights (Manatee).
Overall Marek’s Camp is a cheerful combination of immaturity and real class. It is lyrically attentive and musically accomplished. Supine Orchestra has a distinctive style that is completely charming. This group is producing something really rather wonderful – it is too easy for that to go unsaid, so I’m saying it. Over three albums they have made the most sustained effort, and one of the strongest claims on the current folk scene, to show what new folk music can sound like – and all without a hint that they feel that they really ought to be leafing through the archives of Cecil Sharp House. Bravo – more please.
- Brighton Breakfast
- The Grand Union
- Poor Bernadette
- Bucketful of Ordinary
- Black Funky Metal
- Nice For Jorge
- Carve Your Own Lovespoon
- Mutt Lange
- Ayurveda Louisa