Limelight: Moulettes

Bravery, curiosity and a new way of thinking: truly progressive music should embrace all these things.

Over the last 12 years, Moulettes have proudly exhibited these ideals and now, with their third studio album Constellations, this eclectic folk-tinged collective are finally having the impact their dazzling cross-pollinated adventures deserve.

The UK’s flourishing folk scene has provided them with a strong platform from which to commence their upward ascent, but Moulettes make music that owes far more to the spirits of psychedelia and prog than it does to any acoustic troubadour. Constellations conjures its own twinkling world of intricacy and wonder via tracks that offer an exquisite blend of simplicity and wild invention. Appropriately, the album has a conceptual core to match, as vocalist and cellist Hannah Miller explains.

“We’re building our own world called Fabulism,” she says, with a grin. “The new record sits within an overarching concept that includes the two albums before and the ones to come. All the songs and stories exist within this fantastical world. There’s a central key place called The Observatory, and that’s where the entrance to the tunnel is discovered. That leads to a labyrinth and within each cave there are gestating, dying or exploding miniature worlds that take different forms. It’s also about the power of creativity and imagining how our planet could be. The world is a scary place right now and as an artist, you want to talk about that.”

In terms of prog credentials, Moulettes have plenty, not least the presence of bassist Jim Mortimore, the son of former Gentle Giant drummer Malcolm. Constellations also features an unforgettable appearance from Arthur Brown, with whom Moulettes have toured, alongside Herbie Flowers, The Unthanks and numerous others from across the musical spectrum. This love of joining forces with the like-minded brings a real sense of limitless possibility to their music; a freewheeling methodology that enables Moulettes to perform live in a variety of forms, from the extravagant and populous to the stripped down and spacious. Right now, there is no one else quite like them although the world seems to slowly be coming round to their way of thinking.

“Complicated music is slightly more in fashion than it was six or seven years ago,” drummer Oliver Austin says. “I hope we can make sure that we’re pushing out a bit more sound than the average folk band. We’re moving more and more towards a rock show when we play live. We have prog in our genes, really. I came from a rock background and was into a lot of progressive and post-hardcore, things with different time signatures. Our producer Joe [Gibb] has made lots of great rock records, and he’s always playing Genesis to us! We don’t want to be a softy folk band; prog and psychedelia are in our DNA.”

“This album was meant to be more succinct,” adds Miller, “but we have plans for the next one. So far, I think we’ve been holding back!”

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Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.