Radio Friendly Folk meets Country
A couple of years ago I read an interview with Red Molly in a glossy magazine and their words (and photos it has to be said) intrigued me as they sounded like they would play the type of music I like; but I never followed up my interest so was pleasantly surprised when this release arrived a few months ago.
I’ve now played The Red Album numerous times and feel underwhelmed every time; yet my wife absolutely loves it! The thing is, my displeasure and her pleasure are both because every song here is so highly polished you can nearly see your reflection in the chorus. That’s the type of Country music she loves and I…….well, put up with.
I like my music a little rough around the edges and that’s what I’d been led to believe was how Red Molly sounded; but everything here sounds near perfect. Don’t get me wrong; their harmonies are exceptional and each of Laurie MacAllister, Abbie Gardner and Molly Ventnor play their chosen instruments exceptionally well, but they owe more to the Andrews Sisters than the Waco Brothers.
As my wife will testify the songs are all ‘nice’ with her favourite being the Simon and Garfunkel classic ‘Homeward Bound’and if you twisted my arm I’d probably say I liked Darrell Scott’s ‘With a Memory Like Mine’ best; probably because the production allows Laurie MacAllister’s voice to breathe and express itself and the guitar to neatly cut through for occasional solos.
In a similar vein, if there’d been more songs like the delightfully simple ‘Sing to Me’ featuring Red Molly herself, Molly Ventnor on lead vocals, I’d have been a much happier man.
Which all brings me to the song that the band has been haunted by since their inception; Richard Thompson’s ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ which features a character called Red Molly, and I’d never heard covered before; as it takes a very brave or foolish person to cover an iconic song like this. Although Red Molly re-arrange the song to suit their harmonies the spine is an economy version of Thompson’s trademark guitar picking.
I’m sure their fan base – the RedHeads, will love this song and the album in equal measures; but my copy is now in my wife’s car and I will probably not have to hear it again.
UK release August 25th 2014
US release May 20th 2014