The Wild Man of Europe
Gave Up The Ghost
Quintessential English Folk with an angry Alt. Country aftertaste
It took me a couple of sittings before I got my head around this album; primarily because I was expecting a much more upbeat affair; because that’s what the band name and CD cover conjured up.
Once I’d got past that juxtaposition the album stayed in the car stereo for two full days as I drove around the Yorkshire countryside in the Summer sunshine.
Beware though; Gave Up The Ghost isn’t the soundtrack to those hazy, lazy days – these songs are powerful, introspective and angry pseudo-political songs about relationships and the sorry state of our country today.
Perhaps it helped that I’d recently watched Billy Elliott on the TV, but Wicked Ways, Carrion and Wait and See all felt like they could have been songs from my youth in the dark days of the 1970’s. Sadly not; because all three are new songs written for and about the current Under-Class who used to be the Working Class of Great Britain.
The Wild Man of Europe are actually a six piece band rooted firmly around the songs and voice of Alec David Bowman; but the subtle playing by the other members is quite mesmerising at times. This is most noticeable on All I Ever Can Say and Pocket of Stones which invoke memories of being force fed Fairport Convention albums as a teenager; in fact the Wild Man could easily be the son of the Fairports but with tattoos and a nose-ring.
Not everyone (my wife especially) will warm to Bowman’s flat enunciation when singing; but I did and he manages to convey his passionate words
The Wild Man keeps my favourite track until last; when Rosey Haze provides electric-harmonies and a wonderful flute solo (honest) on a Blues infused Folk-Rocker of almost epic proportions.
All in all a very good debut album; that makes me think their live shows must amazing; it’s just a pity that they are so restrained on record.