“Not so much that veritable melting pot, but a cauldron of cauldrons, an alloy of more precious metals than you can poke a stick at…..just fabulous throughout!”
You can almost hear that din! That’s the sound of the Folk Police in frantic pursuit of Damien Barber, his Demon Barbers, and an absolute multitude of cohorts, that is! Their crime? Nigh on an hour of audacious musical subordination! Rules broken, re-invented, and smashed to smithereens…..almost every conceivable genre and sub genre of music made to embrace and forge a musical alliance……it’s actually easier to list the forms not engulfed than those that are….so here goes! There’s no death metal or Tuvan Throat-singing evident, but that may well appear on the next album….seriously don’t be surprised if it does!
‘Disco at the Tavern’ is a ‘celebration of fifteen years of mayhem’, and what a celebration it is. Main vocals as you would expect are courtesy of Damien himself….other than that, it’s a free for all…..musical Twister! A melee of guitars, fiddles, keys and piano, melodeons and concertinas, bass, sax, and as you would expect on a ground breaking folkathon such as this, scratching and samples, and of course hip hop beatbox! Not so much that veritable melting pot, but a cauldron of cauldrons, an alloy of more precious metals than you can poke a stick at…..just fabulous throughout!
The album contains predominately traditional works, though rather than resting on their laurels and keeping tradition (like so many others do) breathing with the help of some ramshackle life support machine, The Demon Barbers have taken these songs firmly by the scruff of the neck, shaken them from their induced coma, and given them a good hard talking to, a firm kick up the backside and forced them to welcome with open arms their very distant cousins…..it works, it works very well, and there is genuinely not a single lull in the entire fifty seven minutes and sixteen seconds…..
So should the aforementioned Folk Police have anywhere near enough energy to apprehend this villain of the peace, well fear ye not! Lock them away and throw away the key they may, but such is the ingenuity of this crew that every thrash, crash, thump and bash of their certain bolt for freedom is likely to be recorded, chopped, played in reverse to form the basis for some future reconstituted masterpiece….chuck in a hip hop beat, a concertina, Damien’s assured vocals and of course an eighteenth century tale of seafaring woe…..and there we have it! Yep, it’s a keeper! It’s a grower too! It’s, as it says on the back cover, ‘a celebration of fifteen years of mayhem’……so what did you expect for goodness sake?!