Seth Lakeman is without a doubt one of the most exciting and compelling British folk artists in the industry. Since his breakthrough with debut album The Punch Bowl back in 2002, Lakeman has achieved critical acclaim and built himself quite the fanbase. His last album was 2011 release Tales from the Barrel House. He’s back this week with his seventh studio album Word of Mouth.
For Word of Mouth Lakeman continues to explore his roots and interviewed locals to pull out history and stories that he could then craft into songs. The album opens with slow-building but dramatic The Wanderer which draws you in as Lakeman fits an impressive amount of lyrics into his melodies before calling you to action with the rousing chorus. The tempo varies throughout Word of Mouth giving the album plenty of variety and lots of different sounds.
Highlights on the album include the mid-tempo Another Long Night, the tale of a bell-ringer in the dreamy Bells, and the banjo-infused uptempo number Last Rider. One of the more simple arrangements on the album is the subdued The Saddest Crowd which is more about Lakeman’s vocals than intricate instrumentation.
The best is saved for last on album closer Portrait of My Wife. Stripping the instrumentation back the track allows Lakeman’s voice to shine as the tempo is slowed down. It’s one of the most emotive tracks on the album and is simply stunning.
Word of Mouth is available as a 2CD collection with the second disc featuring excerpts from his interviews giving you a deeper understanding of the inspiration behind some of the songs.
Word of Mouth is an album that is distinctively Seth Lakeman. If you’re a fan of his already you’ll find much to enjoy but if you’ve never really understood the hype then you won’t be converted. Lakeman’s music is definitely niche but if you like more substance to your music then you should look up this record. We’ve been big fans of Lakeman’s for years and we love his unique take on modern folk music.