Laura Cannell & Stewart Lee: These Feral Lands Volume 1 – A fevered collection

Cannell and Lee engage in a ricocheting, jagged-edged conversation

These Feral Lands Vol 1
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Artist: Laura Cannell & Stewart Lee with Kate Ellis, Polly Wright and Jennifer Lucy Allan
Genre: Alternative
Label: Brawl Records

If ever there was a collection of, by and for our times, this is it. English composer, recorder player and violinist Laura Cannell dives into the deep end of these endlessly deep ended days, in search of a connection to the folklore of her people. Her unlikely collaborator is English comedian Stewart Lee, whose conjured stories lope alongside Cannell's sounds, inspired by feral animal sounds. A buzzard in particular, offered Cannell inspiration, but These Feral Lands sees Cannell and Lee engage in a ricocheting, jagged-edged conversation with Crash Ensemble's Kate Ellis, harmonium player Polly Wright and broadcaster Jennifer Lucy Allan.

This is a twilight world, with surreal tales of ancient poison potions and a parson's wife (on the standout Wellington Hearts) and knot-in-the-stomach insistent strings (Black Shuck). Think The Copper Family and Sheila Chandra meeting Chris Wood and Simon Emmerson of The Imagined Village at a crossroads.

This fevered collection hints at a subtle emotional dissonance that permeates life for many of us these days.

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts