While continuing to showcase huge hooks, intricate melodies and the kind of honest, accessible lyrics that have already won them an army of loyal fans – ‘Almost Home’ actually sees the 5-piece taking a more simple approach to their song writing, as lead singer Matt explains: “The idea was to go back to song writing in its simplicity, based around nostalgia and the idea of ‘home’. We were careful not to over embellish or over produce, instead we wanted to concentrate on the story and melodies.” Cue minimal use of strings, simple arrangements, and songs that let the key instruments sit perfectly without bulking out the tracks in production. “There’s always going to be an overall ‘Cobblers sound’ to our albums that we want to keep. I love an element of consistency from bands, but you do also want to bring something new to the table with each release.”
The result is a stunning 12-track collection where the song writing shines. It feels weightier and more accomplished than anything they’ve done before, demonstrating a musical maturity that could easily cross them over to the mainstream. Highlights include the poignant optimism of title track and first single, ‘Almost Home’ – a great representation of the album as a whole according to Cobblers’ Tom. “It sums up everything we wanted to express with this record – the ideas of Home and Family.” ‘Concord’ is just as pretty, built around the banjo and slowly building to an orchestral crescendo. There’s the flawless indie-folk of ‘Bicycles’ and the standout ‘Demons’ which sees Jules taking turn on lead vocals to beautiful effect. It’s one of album’s most uplifting moments, buoyant and bursting with melody.
The elegant ‘Martha & Giles’ has nods to the more traditional folk song, in storytelling and in the stripped back composition, whilst ‘On Your Own’ couldn’t contrast more with an almost alt-J-like quality to it. “It’s the most ‘funky’ of my tracks for this album” says Matt. “It doesn’t really have any real folk connections but Cobblers has always been about variety and I like to think these little jumps from the norm have been the backbone to all of our releases.” Elsewhere there’s the melancholy ‘Forest Hill’, Hawaiian vibes in the summery ‘Hand That Feeds You’ and the hope filled “Walls”. Final highlights include the addictive chorus of “Winning”, the experimental intro of piano ballad ‘An Island’ and the closing track ‘All I Need’ – a striking love song about the simplicity of friendship.
Over the last few years, ￼Keston Cobblers’ Club have been steadily building a name for themselves. Their debut album ‘One, For Words’ came in 2012, quietly released as a digital download followed by two EPs, ‘A Scene of Plenty’ and 2014’s ‘A Pocket Guide to Escaping’. Then came ‘Wildfire’ the aforementioned 2015 album which won them huge praise everywhere from MOJO Magazine, The Guardian, The Independent and the Financial Times to Songlines, fRoots and Clash.
Their live shows are displays of genuine warmth and dazzling musicianship, honed over years of playing some of the UK’s biggest festivals, including Glastonbury, Bestival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Wilderness and Green Man; they even ran their own festival, Camp Wildfire two years ago. They’ve been playlisted by 6Music and Amazing Radio; and been invited to perform live on BBC Radio by the likes of Dermot O’Leary, Steve Lamacq and Bob Harris. In 2015 Burberry asked the band to perform at their Menswear SS2106 event to a VIP audience and after a triumphant UK tour including sell-out dates at London’s Lexington and Scala, the band were invited to open for Bellowhead on their farewell tour – a highlight of the band’s career so far. “What a dream come true” says Bethan. “We’ve all been fans for so long and to be able to support them felt like a massive achievement professionally, and personally just a real pleasure.”
All eyes are now on ‘Almost Home’, which will be supported by a 12-date UK tour, kicking off in Manchester on April 18, and including a special London show at Union Chapel. There’s also another European tour in the works and a busy summer of festivals. “We get most excited about touring new tracks and seeing how we can work them into our set” says Matt, “I always write first, then produce, then we get together in the studio and work out how we’re going to take the tracks to an audience. So I’m particularly looking forward to getting out there with this album.”
￼Keston Cobblers’ Club // April // Tour
18th Manchester Royal Northern College of Music
19th Brighton Komedia
20th Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
21st London Union Chapel
22nd Ashford St Mary’s Church
23rd Exeter Phoenix
25th Milton Keynes Stables
26th Nottingham Rescue Rooms
27th Kendal Brewery Arts
28th Durham Gala Theatre
29th Sheffield Greystones (3pm matinee AND 7.30pm evening show)
30th Bristol Colston Hall Lantern
Keston Cobblers’ Club are: Matthew Lowe, Julia Lowe, Tom Sweet, Bethan Ecclestone and Harry Stasinopoulos