The Thrashing Machine and Other Stories

Lehto & Wright

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This fourth offering released in 2004 see's more "long form" tracks as well as the addition of a string quartet. Folk Roots said: The last product from Lehto & Wright got me in a real lather and yet again Thrashing Machine delivers, gaining a huge thumbs up. I totally sympathize with what these guys are up to and the fact that they've echoes - only echoes, mark you - of earlier American noise folk crews like Boiled In Lead and Cordelia's Dad does them credit, not harm. All too often our cousins over the big pond tackle British trad (no question about their enthusiasm), either as copycat or a soupy, half crazed mutant intention, usually labeled something unfortunate like Celtic rock! As if Hors lips hadn't happened.

To give us back our own and do something that bit extra takes smarts, thankfully Steve Lehto and John Wright have the chops. Instrumentally they have no time for fiddles, squeeze boxes or such, rather they go for a straight-down-the-line rock format, guitar/ bass/ drums, except that this time they do get away with adding a string quartet here and there.

Mostly the album's cohesive, except for a technically skilful, but out of place crack at Italian classical guitar. So overlook that slight lapse and feast your ears instead on The Earl Of Other where, a gorgeous soft core original by the aforementioned string quartet that leads into a deeply atmospheric take of Down Where The Drunkards Roll, Lehto's vocals bringing out the lyrics of pathetic ritual and cravings in unsettling starkness. There's a heartfelt Nancy Spain which precedes the crashing guitar sonics of a 1O-minute-plus jig workout. Elsewhere John Riley is dark and gothic, though the title track tops the pile, a boisterous, tongue-in-cheek update of the ancient farmer meets comely maid subtext. Somebody over here, please pick up on these blokes, we're missing out. The Thrashing Machine & Other Stories is a tonic, fall for its charms. www.newfolkrecords.com

— Simon Jones

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