(2017 – At The Helm Records- UK)
A truly brilliant British artist and his varied backing band members present us with the 2017 release ‘Oh Sealand’. Horribly overlooked in much of the pop world, David Bramwell, who goes under the alias David Oddfellow, is a highly gifted musician, singer, songwriter, and author, who heads the band called Oddfellow’s Casino. This name was taken from a Victorian freak show, founded by a man named Ambrose Oddfellow, that once toured the British Isles. It is a story worth investigating.
The musicians on this seventh release are David Oddfellow (words, voice, whistle, instruments), Jim Whyte (drums,1,2,6), Eberhard Harrison (drums,9,11,12), Alistair Strachan (cornet 1,2,3,12), Emma Strachan (clarinet, 1,2,12), Rachel James (vocals, 3,6,12), Eliza Skelton (vocals, 1,2,9,11), Dan Burke (guitar, 12), The Shoreham Sea Shanty Choir (2,8) and voices of Chris Hare and Alan Moore (8). The music is a bit more psychedelic infused than previous output, but still has the unique haunting quality, gently pushing forth yet another superior set of songs. If you have any taste for soothing semi melancholy, but eccentric and notably stimulating music, this cannot be missed. Think of a perfect combination of David Bridie, Eno, Mark Hollis, and the mellow ballad tunes of 80’s languishing art rock, with an added psychedelic flavor.
It’s uncommon for me to say, but I have never heard one single dud out of all the tracks from every release this band has made. Never a more crowning mixture of haunting folk themes with modern lush keyboards, gentle vocals, unique harmonies, and beautiful music, has ever come across my ears. Much of this band’s earlier music (that has a slightly more classical and folk atmosphere than this newest) has been like a thick hot bowl of green pea soup on a dark cold winter night. Something to sooth your soul. No, this is not ambient fluff, or sweet, but it is magnetic music that pulls the listener in and allows an experience which is rare indeed. And just when you think they cannot do better, they do. I not only recommend ‘Oh Sealand’ but I highly suggest you get all their titles.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson 11 – 28 – 2017