Sonically both English bed-sits and American big skies are audible on Folklore by Matthew Edwards & the Unfortunates – accompanied by wry melancholia, literate lyrics, avant-garde flourishes and a general air of louche European sophistication. ‘Pop noir’ indeed.
Although hard to pin down, Folklore can loosely be described as ambitious, beautifully-crafted baroque indie rock, where cellos, theremin, harpsichord, farfisa and clanging guitar all find their space. Reminiscent of Robyn Hitchcock, The Go-Betweens and Nick Cave, the album is sophisticated and educated, but also not ashamed to flash a little angry muscle.
Folklore is out now through Gare Du Nord Records and is available to order here. You can listen to the full album in full below, and we’ve asked the band to provide some comments on each track:
‘Birmingham’: One woman. Two verses. Two cities. 20 years separating them. An elegy to returning home and seeing ghosts at motorway services and train stations while Dr Alimantado haunts the radio.
‘Lazy’: A transmission from the 31st floor of a council block: When you realise everything is simply not going to work out, and you are absolutely fine with it. But then, something snaps and you realise you can leave. Isaac Bonnell channels Robert Quine on this we think.
‘Folklore’: You escape to the airport, then you get to take a plane, then you leave and leave the ‘folklore’ behind… A ‘Ghost Town’ shifted 20 miles north from Coventry to Birmingham. Eric Drew Feldman (PJ Harvey, Cpt Beefheart) plays harmonium.
‘When We Arrived At The Mountain’: Imagining a council estate in Birmingham as seen by Alejandro Jodrowsky (with Dagmar Krause joining me on vocals and Fred Frith on guitar). Swapping peyote for Diamond White. The desert for the canal-side. Derick summons up the ghost of Jaki Liebzeit on this song methinks.
‘Ungainly’: Loving the beauty and wisdom of my fellow escapee: we may be awkward but we will prevail. I was listening to a lot of Arthur Lee/Love at the time. David plays some lovely piano.
‘I Can Move The Moon’: My treatise on faith and my veneration of St Patti Smith: via Richman, Hell and Reed – Eric Drew and Isaac battle it out at the end.
‘The Willow Girl’: A song about a girl I knew in Birmingham a long time ago. She played me Fairport Convention. She no longer exists. Fairport Convention do. Dagmar Krause sang with me. I’ll probably never play this song live.
‘Home’: A song for my family, my mom, and hopefully forgiveness? We’ll see…
‘Song of Songs’: I lived in a shed in the fog-shrouded Parkside district of San Francisco for 7 beautifully ‘lost’ years and performed self-exorcism on a regular basis. Fun times. Derick and I wrote this in a basement in Leamington Spa. Later Fred Frith added action painting guitar and tore the song out by the roots.
‘A Young Man’: Sartori in Wetherspoons under the influence of Charlie Feathers (we’ve all been there?). An autobiography of sorts; one with no pity or regrets whatsoever… but with a theremin.