Follow Them True, the new album by east London band Stick In The Wheel proudly draws on the abiding folk tradition of counterhegemonic, working-class narrativity and history.
According to lead singer Nicola Kearey the opening track Over Again considers “how things come in cycles, rebirth…” and how people can be bound by “ritual” but can also free themselves from convention.
Ian Carter’s resonator guitar’s thumping riff, Kearey’s clear vocals, the rich vocal harmonies, and the pithy lyrics, enact a punchy call for “a new start”.
Traditionally sung by a male narrator, White Copper Alley tells the story of a man who is robbed by a prostitute.
Kearey repurposes this sexist song for women’s emancipation.
She reimagines the tale from the woman’s perspective, empowering and reclaiming a demonised female character as a heroine who steals her sexual exploiter’s silver to save her dying child.
As I Roved Out exemplifies the band’s fusion of electronic, automated sounds with traditional melodic structures and narratives.
Stick In The Wheel combine intriguing stories of class conflict with an eloquence and clarity that makes this album bound to stick in the mind.
Follow Them True builds excellently upon the rich history of British traditional music, elevating and documenting working class experience in the process.