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Album: David Rotheray, The Life of Birds (Proper)

By Andy Gill

As songwriter with both The Beautiful South and Homespun, David Rotheray has always been a bit of a glass-half-empty kind of chap, and so it proves on this folksy album, loosely themed around birds.

It's reliant for much of its character on guest vocalists such as Eliza Carthy, Alasdair Roberts and Jim Causley, the latter bringing a jaunty vaudeville charm to the best track, "The Sparrow, the Thrush & the Nightingale", a droll allegory in which the nightingale demands a bigger cut of the trio's fees for having the sweetest voice. Elsewhere, Carthy evokes an emigrant northener's homesickness in "The Road to the South", and Roberts's reedy tones haunt the corridors of a "Draughty Old Fortress". But the melancholy borders on maudlin in places.

DOWNLOAD THIS The Sparrow, the Thrush & the Nightingale; The Road to the South; Sweet Forgetfulness

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