[sic] Magazine

Trimdon Grange Explosion – S/T

Should you have been keeping up to date with the resurgent Mark Nicholas and Alison Cotton, both formerly of The Eighteen Day Of May, you’ll have noticed the pair had a very English and rather middling new album out earlier this year as The Left Outsides. Unsatisfied, it turns out they were also simultaneously working with other ex-18DoM’ers Ben Phillipson and Karl Sabino to reignite Trimdon Grange Explosion, another psych-folk outfit that until last year (this S/T album now re-released on Cardinal Fuzz) only had one AA 7” to their name and that was from way back in 2010! That single featured covers of Judy Henske and Jerry Yester‘s “Raider” and – go figure – Alan Price’s “The Trimdon Grange Explosion”. Sharing a name with that 1882 colliery disaster in County Durham, Nicholas, Cotton and co. are quick to flash their trad-folk credentials and it’s a look and sound that persists on record despite a fairly varied running order.

Similar to that new Left Outsides LP but at the rootsier end of the spectrum (there’s a 10-minute version of “The Bonnie Banks Of Fordie” for a start), this is an album full of post-folk shuffles, laidback 60s psych, slow-burn ballads, ambient experimentation, as well as old-fashioned indie-rock of the sort last heard in the late 90s and which probably should have stayed there. Just as it always has, it’s Cotton’s tremendously mournful viola work that stands out though (she who consequently also has a new, much better solo album out this year [watch this space, review incoming]). Droning away, it adds lush depth to meandering melodies, dragging the downright pleasant off for pastures darker. Single-handedly making the album worth a listen comes “Weeping And Wailing” in which Cotton, so often in possession of lily-livered mew, here goes full Kylie in the role of “Where The Wild Roses Grow”, the simmering cut’s barely-there backing bedecked in her multi-tracked drones. Too often tempted though by the creak and wheeze of outdoorsy motifs that are then led astray by uneventful folk-rock, it’s Cotton’s viola that continues to give these patchouli blends some clout, electric guitar furthering bolstering the closing jam, “Glass And Sand”, allowing it to bend out a backbone in the process as things get heady under the stars. If you do happen to be one of those that have been keeping up to date with Cotton and Nicholas’s movements since The Eighteen Day Of May, you’ll probably love this. That said, you probably already own this.

Best track: “Weeping And Wailing”

~Trimdon Grange Explosion is out now via Cardinal Fuzz.~