Album Review: Seth Lakeman – Word of Mouth2 min read
It’s hard to believe that Word of Mouth could get much better after the opening track The Wanderer. Could Seth Lakeman really have enough quality material to back up such a strong statement of a first song? Fortunately for us both, he could and does. Word of Mouth is an energetic and passionate folk album which is captivating from start to finish.
The Wanderer opens the album on a catchy and upbeat note, setting the tone for a powerful and fast paced record. The quality of The Wanderer is matched by the following track Another Long Night which is slightly more subdued and less energetic but no less pleasant. A peppy instrumental solo winds down the song before Courier heightens the intensity of the record with its fiery riffs.
Balancing the intensity of Courier are two slower, acoustic style ballads in Labour She Calls Home and Bells. The softer tracks allow Seth’s vocal talent to shine against the subtle instrumental display and let the emotions come through his soulful, relaxing voice. Lakeman weaves more intense and upbeat songs with more relaxed tunes and ballads throughout the record, striking a pleasant tonal balance.
Coming in at the middle of the record is the upbeat Last Rider, with a sharp contrast in tempo from the previous mellow tunes. The peppy number is one of the more catchy tracks on the album, lifting the energy back up before the pace slows back down with The Saddest Crowd.
The Saddest Crowd and Tiger keep the tone mellow with their slow, peaceful melodies. The latter is reserved yet more intense than the former, as if Lakeman is refraining himself from creating a more powerful song.
Following Tiger, The Ranger comes out swinging with intense riffs and a sense of urgency in the chorus. The intensity never drops in this one, as it is upbeat and fiery from start to finish, keeping the energy high until Bal Maiden takes over.
The only criticism of Word of Mouth comes in a sense of repetition as the melodies seem to be similar in several songs, resulting in a sense that we’re not hearing anything new. The sense of repletion continues in the final song A Portrait of My Wife – an otherwise sweet and romantic folk ballad which repeats the line “Raise your glass to the one you love” just a few times too many.
Overall, Word of Mouth is an impressive record and shows just the kind of musical maturity one comes to expect of an artist’s seventh album. Seth’s voice and instrumental ability are solid and the record is one which will appeal to fans of most genres.