Whenever Kavus Torabi has come up with interesting twists and ideas from his work with Guapo, Knifeworld, Gong, and Karda Estra to name a few, I always get a kick to see what he will think of next. This next adventure for Kavus, is like a trip into the adventurous seas. That is Admirals Hard.
They are an underground folk ‘supergroup’ in which they formed by Cornishman Andy Carne back 14 years ago while he was in a spell of exile in London. He convinced fellow bandmates from the West Country of bringing the songs he was singing when Andy himself was a kid. From the Avant-Rock, Chamber, and Experimental groups/artists raging from North Sea Radio Orchestra, Mediaeval Baebes, Stars in Battledress, and William D. Drake, they put the electric instruments aside as they lend Carne a helping hand.
Their long-awaited debut album released this year is entitled, Upon A Painted Ocean. Released on Kavus’ label Believers Roast, it is a traditional folk musical singing for Carne’s love of the genre. Andy Carne’s voice at times resembles the essence of Richard Digance and Fairport Convention’s Dave Swarbick and Trevor Lucas. The moment I’ve listened to this, I’ve really got a kick out of this and knowing that Andy and his fellow crew are on a pirate ship singing these songs and knowing that it’s time for the rum to drink and following the bouncing ball when you hear these songs.
You can imagine both Andy and Kavus are the Captains of the ship as the crew members including Daniel Chudley, James Larcombe, Richard Larcombe, Sarah Measures, and Paul Westwood give the help and go on a journey through their adventures and the songs that will make you smile and at times get a kick out of the harmonium (pump organ). Not to mention a few centerpieces that made me smile throughout the entire album.
A traditional dance for a good time, but once you add a clapping rhythm along to the Jig approach for a Folk-Classical twist in the styles of Johann Sebastian Bach featuring both the Harmonium, Accordion, and Acoustic Guitars, it makes it enthusiastic with The Random Jig/I’ll Get Married In My Auld Claes.
With some of the acapella pieces thrown in there of the sea shanties while the sailors singing while they were on the ships to accompany the labors on boarded sailing ships with trading vessels, songs like Whip Jamboree/Let the Bulgine Run feature the rhyming stimulating stanza lyrics with evocative rhythms followed by foot tapping sections from the instruments.
Their take of Burl Ives’ Hullabaloo Belay is a bright and enjoyment yet haunting take of the classic done in the style of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera while getting into the Celtic Folk-Punk attitude into a joyful mood of The Pogues’ cover of South Australia. But it’s Rounding the Horn that really made my eyebrows lit up even more.
We have a spacious atmosphere of the song that clocks in at 7-minutes long, you can imagine the seven piece group after getting off the ship from the cargo they carry with them, walking into an eerie situation where this is nobody there as if you can imagine a pin drop in this Ghost Town they are walking into. The stirring vocals set the tone as the accordion and electric guitar itself carries the droning finale that gave me goosebumps throughout the entire piece.
The band will be performing on July 23rd at the Islington in London and the album’s release this coming Friday, it will give Admiral’s Hard a lot of recognition since they were doing 10 years of roof-raising performances in the pubs and clubs in London and in the South West. Upon a Painted Ocean is a must have and the 7-piece band and Andy Carne have done a spectacular job bringing the sea shanties brought to life in this amazing form.