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Reviewed by Sammy Jay Dawson

Albi And The Wolves: One Eye Open

Reviewed by Sammy Jay Dawson

Albi And The Wolves: One Eye Open

Traditional yet refreshingly modern, Albi And The Wolves’ debut album blends a diverse range of genres including folk, classical, bluegrass, soul, indie-rock, country, blues and gypsy jazz. Whilst Albi’s (Chris Dent – guitar, vocals) brilliantly composed songs are the true star here, it would most certainly be a lesser record if it wasn’t for the contributions of Micheal Young (upright bass, vocals), Pascal Roggen (violin, vocals) and extra Matt Owens’ banjo. Recorded in Auckland at Young’s own Studio 27A, it’s light on overdubs and unnecessary fluff. Giants In The Sky revises the role of violin in the folk song and title track One Eye Open perfectly illustrates the (usually) trio’s ability to create foot stomping tunes without need of a drum kit. Avoid the Mumford And Sons cliché comparison, add a gypsy swing rhythm, a couple of ‘9’ era Damien Rice-style acoustic ballads, a Black Keys’ cover and you’re getting close. Often it’s Roggen’s fiddle playing that allows the songs to shine, being able to push the songs into either break-neck speed or brooding drama. It’s an interesting flair. Paired with Young’s flawless rhythm section the band never fails to do whatever genre justice. Renowned for their live performances, Albi And The Wolves show here that they are capable of the kind of cross-genre contamination that holds up on record and promises endless reinvention.