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Friday 21 June 2024

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The Space Between – Bonfire Radicals.

May 14, 2023

Have you ever wondered what kind of music Chas & Dave would be making if Chas grew up the son of a history teacher in Sligo and grew to love alt rock? Of course not. Has any thought as useless as that entered your psyche without your brain immediately pushing it away to make room for thoughts about that night’s food offering? God knows.

It is hard not to be infected with the pure joy Birmingham’s fiery folk-ish collective Bonfire Radicals have that permeates their music. It’s not like the joy that an intricate, jarring, Zappa composition brings, but more like the joy you get when you interact with the natural world. Their historical intention and the intertwining of folk traditionalisms with contemporary imaginings make for something different and engaging.

However, with a record that tracks at just under half an hour, there is slightly too much filler. The first two and a half minutes of ‘The Man From Suburbia’ for example, have no reason to be as tedious as they are. And ‘Freilacher Nashele’ should not be as jaunty as it is, but for someone who is not quite as grumpy as I, I’m sure it ticks a lot of boxes.

Alternatively, ‘Mary Ashford’ is a daunting and sorrowful true tale of two murdered Birmingham women that’s strongest asset is the not entirely polished, but beautifully strained female vocal. It seems when the Bonfire Radicals become grittier, they become more attractive. Grunge and grime could lead to glory.

Will Madden.

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