Release Date: May 18, 2015
Record label: Navigator
Eliza Carthy’s musical adventures continue. Last year she joined her dad, Martin Carthy, in The Moral of the Elephant, a charming album of acoustic collaborations. Now comes another set of duets, and it could hardly be more different. It starts with a furious blast of distorted electric guitar and fiddle, on a song that praises the killing of buffalo, and is followed by a lament for the massacre of native Americans.
A meeting of two fierce exponents of the folk traditions of England and New England was always likely to produce sparks and so it proves on the aptly titled Bottle. There are gentle moments among its selection of antique songs – the laments of 10,000 Miles and Love Farewell – but more typical is the clash between Carthy’s demon fiddle and Eriksen’s thrash guitar on Buffalo and Prodigal Son. The pair’s unvarnished vocal harmonies are likewise at full throttle on its tales of Native American massacre and seafaring travails, while the title cut is “a medieval song about orgasm” delivered to banjo and handclaps.
Billed as A Game For Two Players, Bottle aims for a fusion of hardcore Americana and Anglicana, mixing the deathly brutalism of Buffalo, massacres and conflict in Logan’s Lament, and cautionary tales of life at sea in the days when eating the odd crew member was a regular occurrence. Folk music revels in such macabre narrative, and Carthy and Eriksen (of Cordelia’s Dad fame) tackle the darker side of Cecil Sharp House with considerable relish. It’s not all doom and gloom.