Album/EP Reviews baroque British Debut Energetic Folk Music Historical Trad Covers Traditional Vitality

The Twisted Twenty (Debut Album) Review


From: Penny Fiddle Records

Tracks: 8

With: Holly Harman (baroque violin, vocals), Alexis Bennett (baroque violin, guitar, bodhran, electronics), James O’Toole, David Rabinovici (baroque violin), Ewan Macdonald (Cittern), Lucia Capellaro (baroque cello), Carina Cosgrave (baroque double bass

Producer: Sam Proctor


Zesty yet focused, the Twisted Twenty’s Debut is a fantastic window to the Baroque era that you don’t want to close.

As bright and bold as the assorted splashes on their front cover, “The Twisted Twenty” arrive with their baroque-character instruments and are on a mission  to bring back 17th and 18th Century folk melodies (but were they ever truly out?)

Launched early in the year, their self-titled debut album does indeed deliver on this mission, and it does in the form of a mostly instrumental warm brew that shares a rather rich concoction of strings, other instruments and a scattering of almost marshmallow vocals. Whilst I can fantasise about hot chocolate, I am saying this from the cold, steadfast shell of Autumn, but the album is quite firmly a Spring album (it did come out in April).

It could be the image of spirals of hay and scattering straw with the welcome lightness of touch of Ruidleadh mo Nighean Donn – Cuir I Gluin Air a Bodach which seems to be capturing rays as it plays or the slightly mischievous and joyful collection of instruments of Track 1, The Ragged Sailor Set in all of it’s sparky, plucky energy; there is a good sense of fun which plays throughout the disc. The mixing is top notch, unlike Morecambe and Wise in some well-resourced sketch, you never feel that an instrument is jostling for the limelight, the cello and double bass do not announce their arrival and refuse to sit down; it all works together very well indeed.



There is a lot to like, the regality of James Oswald’s, The Banks of Forth/She’s Sweetest When She’s Naked is intriguing. Their take on Arthur McBride is a gently moving, and rather earthy as the focus is drawn to the larger stringed instruments. The base is a quiet shudder, maybe the earth giving way for a seedling to grow. When he hear some traditional song lyrics such as those for The Three Ravens, we are not disappointed. Holly Harman’s voice reaches with a kind of sadness and fitting lament of the said ravens in the story who are eyeing a potential meal that ultimately they do not get.. The melody has a cool, sparseness like the chilled intake of breath before Three Good Fellows the following track which is a short but exuberant number is tailed by a stocky, gallant bodhran that gives it a definite kind of kick.

Everything is in it’s right place and this album is a great introduction to this period of history. Fresh and restless it is a dog’s bright keen eyes to it’s walking lead, one cannot deny the confidence that the Twisted Twenty walk in with here. For a man who likes his vocals and lyrics, The Twisted Twenty sit up there with Leveret at the few predominantly instrumental groups who I like to listen to, and when they do tackle lyrics it is as glorious as a dancing cat.

Check out the Twisted Twenty’s webpage, it is cool and puts mine to shame! There are some samples there

The best place to buy their album is from the Bandcamp page here,


If this does not sway you, check out the video below:




Album/EP Reviews Folk Music Nature Folk Poem Review Political

Lady Maisery – Cycle – (Album Review in Poem Form)

LADY MAISERY- CYCLE (poetic review)


A dawn chorus whose stalwart shanties wash an ignorance of history past they 

approach the day careening in Physis’ circuit, putting a breathy foot to a metal horse.

As an earthy watchmaker sets out her table, she is brought an old face.

Burrowing into these metal shells and eyeing her tested tools, she works it’s body.

A chrome infant meets an ancient quartz, no splinter in the ingot. No fault in the join.

A story begins, a story never ends.


Thoughtful, the trio acknowledge a family’s love; itself a supporting stage.

Then onward in the quiet of night they deliver “A Father’s Lullaby”, a deep loss within a

lavish labyrinth. This rustling fern echoes, it’s court expands

splitting any stone wall, it creates a sculpture of armouring ice. In spirit

it is rather a brooding temper that swells, dances upon a fulcrum

and begets a mournful embrace.


Elsewhere. Be it the Brotherhood or the dissenting diggers;

no grey day, nor loss of sight has moved

the gravel of union or changed the call of the common man.

As the picket lines are emptied and the rain comes,

three birds honour a call from the halls, the canteens, the mills.

And their struggles are not forgotten.


These worked hands turn anew; a heated heart of stories told are spun.

Within it there is one part renewal, then a struggle ensues, and finally action turns to thought.

Lay these words all down. A mysticism teases as a chesnut woman brings unimaginable gifts.

In your mind you see her, dancing on a velvet sheet. Her enigma stays creased but her care of step is truly stellar.

Together they move, together they waltz. In order, a sweet continuum of three fine artists.

Truly an epic of the annum.


It is a great album in every sense of the word.

Released recently on 28 October, you can buy it at Rootbeat Records here. Lady Maisery are also on tour (check here), so I would recommend seeing them live too.

If you are still not sure, check out a Youtube video of track number 11, “Order and Chaos”, just one example of a singular tune from the album.