Pavlis 5/10

Ah man, this is a difficult review to do. I have had this album for months and have sat down to write this umpteen times but have been defeated every time. I want to love this and there is so much to admire about what Richard Dawson, Rhodri Davies, Dawn Bothwell and Sally Pilkington do as Hen Ogledd but somehow I just can’t fully embrace it.

Hen Ogledd’s name is taken from the Welsh name for the Old North, an area of northern England and southern Scotland between 500 and 800AD. The music takes in folktronica, indie, hauntology, krautrock and rock. When the band get it right - on the likes of Sky Burial, Tiny Witch Hunter or Problem Child - it is within touching distance of true brilliance. For every moment like that, though, there is something that I just don’t enjoy, like First Date,Gwen Reged o Heddiw or Dyma Fy Robot

The PR spiel describes this as “a discombobulating pop prayer exploring artificial intelligence, witches, nanotechnology, pre-medieval history, robots, romance, computer games and waterfalls”. I can’t argue with that but I will say that the songs I like - no LOVE - on here would make a 10/10 EP or mini- LP. As for the rest, sorry, they just ain't for me.


Pavlis 9/10

New York, LA, Brisbane, Paris and who knows where else - is there really room for punk in 2019? Well, let’s face it, things are as shit now as they were then, what with austerity, Brexit, Trump, the rise of the far right, religious extremism, sexism, racism, zero hours contracts… Which kinda brings us on to Manchester’s young, working class punks Incisions.

The sound combines classic British punk with 80s US hardcore. That is not all. Beneath the fury, there are some fantastic melodies. There are regular squalls of high-pitched feedback that is almost No Wave. The vocals are filled with bile and rage and spit lyrics that tackle love, lust, working sixty hour weeks, booze and even a bit of politics.

Idles and Slaves have proved that a sound rooted in punk can break out of the underground. Incisions could just follow them into what passes for the mainstream. Sounding angrier and snottier than either, Incisions have songs that match and, at times, better both. Just check out War In Your Head, 60 Hours or Circlesfor proof.

Yes, punk has a place. And this is a bloody fine example of modern punk.


David Auckland 8/10

A musical interpretation of Hieronymus Bosch's fiſteenth century triptych panels sounds like the kind of recorded oddity that emerges from a crate digging session at the local vinyl fair, rather than a contemporary electronic folk-jazz release. However, when the artist and songwriter is prolific Norwegian composer Susanna Wallumrød, and when tracks like Gluttony and Lust, Death and The Miser, and Ship of Fools focus clearly on present-day issues such of poverty, equality and the environment, you quickly recognise that Garden of Earthly Delights is more than a leſtfield vanity project of eccentric self-indulgence.

Indeed, this album follows in the footsteps of a series of acclaimed releases from Susanna over the past 14 years – including last year's Go Dig My Grave, a mixture of Appalachian folk, French poetry, English opera, and which even featured a cover of Joy Division's Wilderness. For her latest project, though, she recruits four fellow Norwegians to The Brotherhood of Our Lady, itself a reference to Bosch's medieval sponsors, and brings together striking vocals, guitar, accordion and electronics to map out a haunting mixture of vocal balladry and minimalist soundscapes.

From the departure of Wayfarer to the final Gathering of Birds and its warning of imminent floods, Garden of Earthly Delights, like the works of Bosch, is filled with striking allegory and behavioural scrutiny. Not so much a visit to paradise as a salutary signpost in the righteous direction


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Produced with Yudu -