Willie Stratton & The Boarding Party

Deserter (independent)

Willie Stratton and his first-rate band come rollicking out of the quiet hills of Bedford for another smack of folk-rock bliss. Peppered among some sturdy ballads and a few old favourites is a smattering of tracks that points towards a new direction for the group: “Trinkets” and “Forest Tea Part III” are (relatively) subtler in their instrumentation than most of what Stratton’s put out to date, with slippery lead guitar lines weaving through an ever-present acoustic strum. It’s not a total departure, however ---there is still plenty of the loud, seething energy that Stratton built his name on. Two-parter “The River” is Deserter’s highlight and perhaps his greatest achievement to date---melodic and kinetic, pushing through the same winding path as its namesake.

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