How I Learnt To Disengage From The Pack by Ben McElroy (Album Review)

Nottingham based musician Ben McElroy has been making waves with his latest album How I Learnt To Disengage From The Pack, and for good reason; it doesn’t take long for its gentle finger stylings and emotive string work to hit you. Based on pagan themes of mid-winter harvests, the album was named Folk Album of the Month by The Guardian. After a pleasant opener, the title-track masterfully fuses traditional notions with modern day cinematic ambitions. The album’s centerpiece, 'From Time to Time', is an eight minute stop/start of interplay between guitar and strings, the guitar rumbling along, meeting the impossibly beautiful fiddle as it passes. Whimsical whistles come in to add an air of romance.

Wolves Dance incorporates tribal-like drums. On closing track Collecting Bone Dust it’s hard to discern what instruments are being played and when. Ridiculously lush tones hang in the air, before being threatened by a gnarly instrument I can only guess is an electric guitar, or a distorted accordion. But it doesn’t matter, the music is too precious to care about such details. Essential listening.