I’ll give Finn Collinson one thing, he’s eclectic. This is a creation with so many different faces sometimes it’s hard to keep up with just which one’s smiling. If you go by the opening tracks you could be listening to a suite of contemporary classical music, elsewhere other items reminded me of an unplugged Albion Country Band with oboes and accordions, yet again instrumentals could have come from Gryphon’s debut album and that’s without mentioning the folk pop on further extracts. As I said eclectic.
That’s not to say that Collinson and his merry band don’t make enticing music, for they surely do. Listen to the rolling groove on ‘Jerry Bundler,’ which has its roots in a WW Jacob’s short story, or ‘ The Ship That Never Returned,’ a modern lament rooted in Suffolk maritime history using the vessel ‘Lapwing.’ Urban landscape lies behind ‘Big Smoke I & II’ which begin bleakly before slowly giving way to lighter tones and melodies, like an unhurried sun rise. Folk roots are most obvious in the smattering of reels and scottisches which range from trad to Chris Leslie via Playford, though the title track which closes the album at eight minutes, is perhaps the most effective. Purcell collides with Collinson and that well known composer Traditional in hopeful briskness. The whole is a contrast, urban with rural, recent past with present, Collinson explains it as a personal journey over four years
No doubt Finn will in future make recordings with more unity in focus and intent – a dose of electricity in places wouldn’t go amiss either- but until then, ‘The Threshold,’ is a decent calling card made by a guy who knows what he’s about and a bunch of musicians who share his vision/intention. Smart work.