Keston Cobblers Club – Almost Home
Following on from 2015’s well-received Wildfire, Kent-based five-piece Keston Cobblers Club have released their latest album Almost Home. The indie-folk group’s upbeat and sunny-sounding music, incorporating a whole host of instruments from piano, accordion and strings to tuba and trumpet and percussion, has led them to play at festivals including Glastonbury and support bands like Bellowhead on tour. With their latest collection of tracks they have endeavoured to tone down the production, choosing instead to focus on the simplicity of songwriting.
Opener Almost Home gently lulls the listener into the album. A tune about childhood and memory, it builds to an uplifting chorus, and makes one immediately wish to press repeat. Many of the tracks feel brief, though their length is certainly radio-friendly, and the rise and fall of each number is not laboured – however, one might feel they could listen for longer.
The gentle beat, banjo and swooping instrumental finish to Concord make it a joyful song for the summer. The themes of possibility, memory and our own history are again evoked in Bicycles – “Some day you will look on this day, take all you want, nothing will stay. It all fades” – lending the record its hopeful and reflective quality.
Julia Lowe’s light voice floats over the melodies, particularly in Demons and Martha & Giles, and blends beautifully with brother Matthew’s, often raw, vocals throughout. The band’s harmonies are pleasing and really sing out on tracks Bicycle and Hand That Feeds You, and are reminiscent of Wildfire tunes like St Tropez. The brass instruments make a welcome appearance on Martha & Giles and in the opening of the surprising and upbeat On Your Own.
The only real simplicity here is the easy-listening nature of the album, which will prompt music fans to hear it again and again. The intricacies of the songs and the range of instruments used on Almost Home show that Keston Cobblers Club have successfully stripped back their music without over-simplifying their sound, while the band have once again bought in their lovely vocal harmonies to draw the ear to the lyrics. This is demonstrated in the exquisite Forest Hill, where listeners will want to turn up the volume to hear and feel the swell of the track at its fullest, and through the haunting female voices in All I Need. Almost Home is an absolutely delightful work by this accomplished five-piece, combining optimism and melancholy, warmth and nostalgia in songs about home, time, friendship and hope.
For further information about Keston Cobblers Club or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Almost Home here: