In times of economic and social uncertainty on this island it’s perhaps not surprising that a wave of socially aware folk singers should emerge. After all it was the same scene in America that so vividly highlighted the injustice and social equality that became the norm in the 1960’s. But that was a scene with real teeth, fuelled by anger and an inherent sense of injustice and most importantly overwhelming musical talent. What’s on offer on these shores is a music scene spurred on by slight inconvenience bordering on passionate indifference.
Barry McCormack is undoubtedly passionate about his music. It’s a trait that is beyond doubt as he spits out each line with all the intent of a young Dylan. However the whole thing is handicapped by the lethargic delivery of the band and the formulaic song structures. ‘Cut Throat Lane’ is rooted firmly in the clichés of the pop/folk trend of right now, which at this stage is as common as it is unimaginative. Each track sets out on the same journey, building to the introduction of chorus harmonies before the prance to the finish line with the introduction of a banjo/mandolin solo.
That’s not to say there aren’t some solid tunes here. Opener and title track Cut Throat Lane is a pleasant enough introduction while the extra drive of The Night Before The Horse Fair hints at what McCormack is truly capable of. But these are all glimmers of hope that are dashed as the inevitable trudge into the mundane commences. The Gods are Truly Miffed, for example, is as ridiculous as its title, a slow death march that achieves new levels of boredom not thought possible.
The sense of disappointment in ‘Cut Throat lane’ is based on the fact that you’re waiting for a curve ball that never comes. McCormack is a strong lyricist for the most part but it doesn’t flow as organically as it should. The message feels stilted by the plodding tempos which ultimately translate as a lack of passion and conviction, which is a shame, as the way things are in this country we could all use a bit of both in our music.