BJH’s most recent studio album The North was a tribute of sorts to deceased original member, Stuart ‘Woolly’ Wolstenholme, and this reissue adds to that sense of homage.
Recorded in 2006 and originally released a year later, this worthy record of a re-imagined band captures the alchemy of Woolly’s musicianship and on-stage presence, and gives a clearer sense of his Mellotron-fuelled legacy. All of which makes this more than a mere ‘greatest hits’ offering. The classics are there, and they benefit from the clean, sharp musicianship of former Maestoso members Craig Fletcher and Kevin Whitehead. John Lees’ mellow voice and guitar always comes alive in the echo of a concert hall, but it’s the contrast between his voice and Wolstenholme’s more delicate vox that sell the album; no-one can sing Mockingbird like Woolly. It’s great to have a DVD of the show bundled in with the CD, and if some of the extra tracks therein aren’t essential, Galadriel certainly is. The camera work’s pretty workaday, but that’s all that’s required here. What we get is what we want: a record of a band rediscovering their live brilliance and a chance to see Woolly working those keys one last time.