Folk rock with a spine and marching legs, not to mention a generous infusion of the magisteriality of Mission UK and The Immaculate Fools, composes the profile of this East Coast (Boston) band now four years into its incarnation. A sprinkle or two of The Waterboys and Guggenheim Grotto also make it into the mix, but, overall, This Time with Feeling is a rewardingly intriguing offering from a sextet (the promo lit cites a quartet but the CD contradicts this before going on to finish the roster and then list an additional six sessioneers—lavish!) that's helping firm up folk's re-emergence in new finery, something many had been waiting for rather anxiously, now resolved but in often unexpected ways. Elsewhere we've seen and heard the strikingly odd—hence the 'weird folk' wave that now appears to be subsiding somewhat—but here the landscape is decorous with moving airs and largos borrowed from the classical world yet full laden with modern sensibilities, often progressive and lush.
Paul Hansen is the center point, the songs are all his, as is much of the guitar and keyboard playing, but the crucial addition of cello and the proliference of keys (two other members contribute to the frontman's work) as well as group harmonies and exceedingly well crafted instrumental matrices make for a very broad canvas. Hansen is unfailingly pleasant voiced, nor do the cuts ever contradict him, so lyrics take on the task strictly of narrative rather than emotional emphasis, assuming the role of a carefree day in lower-level sidewalk aristocratic strolls through well appointed grounds: parkways, riverbanks, airy meadows, rustic urbanity, and even flights of cloudbank. Thus, you do not dance and converse over the music but rather sit and take it in discerningly, analytically, even when things get a bit bouncy (Just so You Know).
If you, o audience, were as disappointed as I in such erstwhile so-called new sophisticated folk-rock-popsters as Parachute Club, Hugo Largo, Polyrock, and a spate of too many others, then this disc is going to be a very welcome arrival indeed, probably even engage dinosaur aficionados of the old Lefte Banke, Box Tops, and other more Elizabethanly knowing songcrafters of yore. Such adjectives as 'lovely', 'wistfully beautiful', and 'craftily bright' may be overused in other fields but they're hardly adequate here. You don't find material like this every day, but it sure would be nice if we did.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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