ALMOST HOME - KESTON COBBLERS CLUB
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
- Release Date: 31st March, 2017
- Genre: Joyous and contagious indie Folk-pop
- Location: Bromley, Kent
- Band Members: Matthew Lowe, Julia Lowe, Tom Sweet, Bethan Ecclestone and Harry Stasinopoulos
- Record Label: Tricolour Records
- Tracks: 12
London five-piece the Keston Cobblers Club have always been a very innovative band with super foot stomping and toe tapping live shows and highly creative home-made videos. With amazing warmth and musicianship, they are a very hard band not to like. After their highly acclaimed previous album 'Wildfire' gained huge praise across the board, their latest album 'Almost Home' is a similar masterpiece of fresh ingenuity and infectious earworm melodies. The new album is slightly more stripped than 'Wildfire' but still has the trademark KCC high quality. It sees the band returning to it's roots and taking a more simple approach to their songwriting. As Matt explains "The idea was to go back to songwriting in its simplicity, based around the idea of nostalgia and the idea of home. We were careful not to over embellish or over produce, instead we wanted to concentrate on the stories and the melodies. There's always going to be an overall Cobbler sound to our album that we want to keep. I love an element of consistency from bands, but you also want to bring something new to the table with each release. "Home" means something different to every single person......for us as a band "Home" is number 28. It is the house in which the Cobblers were conceived in 2009. It's the room where we practice, recorded and produced this album. It is the house in which we grow up. Where Matthew and Julia learned to write music.......In it is the warm light at the end of the road after a long tour or exhilarating gig"
'Almost Home' is an album which sparkles with rich creativity, quality musicianship, wonderful arrangements and sumptuous harmonies. It sees the band reaching new heights and a music maturity which could easily see them progress more into the mainstream and see them embraced and loved by a wider audience.
If you haven't had the great pleasure of seeing KCC live this could be your chance as their 12 date UK album release tour has just started. Their launch gig is at the wonderful Union Chapel on the 21st April.....it's an almost perfect venue for this excellent live band to perform.
The whole essence of the new album is captured in a perfect nutshell, the toe-tapping title track and first single 'Almost Home'. It's trademark KCC. Full of originality, joyous, contagious and poignant optimism. Tom says "It sums up everything we wanted to express - Home and Family". Matt says "It's a positive song all about love (not necessarily romantic love) and the home. I often long for home when nearing the end of a tour, and I felt that this track was a good representation of that."
The wonderful 'Concord' with its gentle plucked banjo and percussion opening. It builds slowly to a lovely orchestral crescendo adding piano, strings and brass. It sparkles with energy and pure joy painting a rich sonic soundscape. The word 'concord' carries the idea of an agreement concurrence in attitudes, feelings, peace and amity. In music it can mean a stable, harmonious combination of tones, a chord requiring no resolution. Relevant it promotes harmony especially with all of the separation there seems to be at the moment. 'Despite the flaws, there is no one else like you'. Flawless indie folk 'Bicycles' follows weaving in beautiful harmonies featuring the pre-chorus 'Angels riding bicycles'. 'Demons' seeing Jules take over on lead vocals and sees one of the album's most uplifting moments. 'Run in the face of your Demons'. "I'm daydreaming again" is the notion of thinking you want something so much, and then realising that the most amazing thing is right in front of you. There's already so much light. The grass is always greener and "Demons" is about realising that. The chorus is almost the response to the call to "fight for what you have" and to stop looking for something different. 'Martha & Giles' with it's soft picked acoustic guitar gives a nod to the more traditional folk song. Watch out for the lovely poignant and mournful tuba solo from Bethan to end. It follows the tragic story of Martha and Giles Corey; a husband and wife who were killed in 1692 after Martha was accused of witchcraft and Giles died defending her.
'On Your Own' With its dramatic fanfare and drum roll intro changing immediately into joyful and catchy Caribbean rhythms......this is KCC in full reggae and calypso mode. It is sure it be a firm live favourite on tour. All funky inspired electric guitars and synths, percussion and bass lines. It has an almost Alt J quality to it. The mood drops for the personal, reflective and delicate 'Forest Hill'. Which is about being (fairly) young and poor, but making the most of what you have and how your surroundings can change your fortune massively without the need for money. Almost Hawaiian vibes abound in the 'Hand That Feeds You'. With very clever lyrics it asks the reflective question 'Why do you have to bite the hand that feeds you?...Why do you have the hurt the ones that need you?' It touches upon a slightly serious idea of biting the hand that feeds you and basically ruining chances that may present themselves. "Let's ride on a crippled donkey" is meant to be more of a satirical angle on the exploitation of animals, especially in situations of luxury like holidays, rather than literally just fitting in with the lyrics as a throw away sentence. The track goes back to the ideas of Forest Hill and that wealth doesn't necessarily run parallel to happiness. Next up is the gentle hope filled and topical 'Walls'. 'Walls won't hold us'. Matt says "Walls can often be representative of the problems we all face at some point during our lives, those problems that at the time seem insurmountable and almost impossible to break through. This song, however, is like a friend saying to you “we can get through this, the walls will fall down”, and that with the help, love and support of friends and family we can all beat the darkest of times and emerge stronger on the other side".
Earworm melodies and hooks are a classic KCC staple and 'Winning' has a very addictive chorus. With Jules taking the lead vocals it has a joyful South American feel. A carnival street parade in an exotic palm tree fringed and sunny location. But it's really a "screw you" song. It's the retort to an argument. It's a petty, belligerent middle finger to the person you are arguing with. It's a teenage fight or lovers tiff. It was born of a few words that Matt heard his friend utter to his partner on the phone. The anger they had for each other was so pointless and the argument didn't even make sense, so he wrote a fighting song, a battle cry, to highlight just how ridiculous an argument can be. 'An Island' is a track in two parts, the first an experimental retro 80's electro synth pop to begin with then drifting slowly into softer and reflective piano ballad. It's all just about escapism and running away to your own Island. It's more metaphorical than literal. Rounding out the themes of home, family, friendship and relationships the final track 'All I Need' is striking love song about the simplicity of friendship. A simple and special love that gives you everything you need in that moment.