The west country fiddler continues to draw inspiration from his heartlands, with this seventh album based on interviews with locals: bell ringers, engine drivers, dock workers and more. The resulting narratives are engaging enough, but Lakeman's trademark racing rhythms render several songs indistinguishable. Better are slower pieces such as Labour She Calls Home (about the Minnack Theatre) and The Saddest Crowd (about Titanic survivors).
Few artists have managed to take advantage of the re-emergence of folk music over the past decade better than Seth Lakeman. The singer-songwriter, who burst onto the scene in 2004 with his second album, the Mercury-nominated Kitty Jay, has always been more of a journeyman than someone likely to turn heads. However, despite his relatively straightforward brand of traditional folk, Lakeman has never been short of fans.
Seth Lakeman became a commercial success thanks to his boy-band image and relentlessly dramatic songs, but he now reclaims his folk credentials with new material based partly on interviews that he conducted with everyone from a former rail worker to the witness of a disastrous rehearsal for the D-day landings. His multi-instrumental work is impressive, but his voice still often sounds too urgent. High-energy songs such as The Wanderer, about travellers, or The Courier, about ancient tracks on Dartmoor, are balanced by less frantic pieces about a dockyard worker or young women labourers in the Cornish mines.