Wednesday 20 March 2013

Unfurl - Arcadia (Love Label Records)



Supple bass, slinky violin, intricate jazz guitar, deployed on uncommonly melodic tunes, with the added exoticism of a tabla. The beauty of Unfurl is the way in which the band creates a distinct identity from diverse cultural reference-points. Sometimes Olivia Moore's violin promises full gypsy abandonment, or, alternately, it may adopt a keening eastern tone.  It's characteristic quality is elegance, manifest in the plangent tenderness of tunes like her own 'Other'. Guitarist Jim Faulkner provides counterpoint with diamond lines and fluid licks, and the rhythm team - Gavin Barras on upright bass, Adam Warne on percussion and John Ball on tabla and santoor - provide a luxurious backdrop to the chief soloists. As we all know, the charms of Arcadia are rarified and refined. It may be that the desire to retreat to Arcadia is pure musical escapism, and the memory of Arcadia is as nebulous as a dream. But, hey, it's vasty enjoyable while it lasts. 

Mike Butler  

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