Galley Beggar - Heathen Hymns album review

Folk-sired six-piece seek out some new frontiers

Cover art for Galley Beggar - Heathen Hymns album

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Ever since signing with Rise Above for 2015’s Silence & Tears, this folk act’s sound, by their own admission, has started to become more muscular. That trend continues with this eight-track opus. Informed by a newfound hunger for experimentation, Heathen Hymns explores and expands upon their acid folk, prog and psych influences while peppering proceedings with occasional flirtations with layering, loops, vocal filters and, at one point, Ride-esqueshoegaze on the envelope pushing Four Birds. There are still flashes of the Galley Beggar of old on the sitar and cello-led The Lake but it’s the likes of the daring Let No Man Steal Your Thyme that will ensure them plenty of new converts. A cover of a folk ballad whose roots can be traced back to the 17th century, this latest version has a gloriously gloomy guest vocal courtesy of Trees singer Ceilia Drummond and builds towards an extremely satisfying electric guitar based freak-out.