New Music Review: Folk Thief – Love, Heartache & Oblivion

Folk Thief - Love, Heartache & Oblivion

“Every time I turn around, I see the devil keep trying to pull me down.”

Dave Hadgkiss, better known as Folk Thief, sings and then screams in painful frustration on his debut Love, Heartache & Oblivion.  This particular line comes from the album closer, The Devil Behind Me, a haunting tale with an equally haunting guitar line that could be the folk theme tune for the apocalypse.

This dreary number may be the closer, but the rest of Love, Heartache & Oblivion is, for the most part, upbeat.  Well, perhaps musically upbeat, but there’s an underlying darkness to what appears to be bright.  The peaceful strum of an acoustic guitar with subtle twang to Folk Thief’s voice on much of the album is gentle on the surface, but there is more gloom hidden in the words of this folk relic. On After the Accident, the music is downright beautiful, but the lyrics set a somber tone: “I don’t know why I can’t just do the things I’m told, I’ve got an angel on my shoulder but the Devil owns my soul.”  Personally, I find the dynamic of beauty and darkness rather appealing and interesting.  The music begs love, joy and harmony, but the lyrics contrast the positivity.  On the first few listens to Love, Heartache & Oblivion, this was all lost on me, until I really listened to the words.

Perhaps the title of the ninth track, From Beautiful to Damned sums up what I’m trying to say about the album.  This would be the definitive contrast I’ve been referring to.  It’s not exactly all lyrically moody, mind you.  On Babble, the album’s fourth track, the lyrics flow like a babbling brook, and the melodies are carried by the lyrics like a leaf in a stream.  This tune is a challenging bit of fun, as trying to sing along may prove to be a bit of a challenge as Hadgkiss’ lyrics are, at times, crammed and quick.

All that being said, Hadgkiss really has a knack for writing spot-on folk tunes.  Accompanied by no more than some minimal percussion and female back-up vocals, Hadgekiss’ voice and his guitar are the ship that carries the album along folk-y waters.
His folk strum and melodies refreshing, and although not terribly musically diverse, every song does indeed offer something different.  For example, on the album opener, The Death of Tomorrow, an open tuning, a vocal effect, guitar slide, and a hand drum are all used for the first, and only time (as far as I can tell) on the album.  However, as different as this song may be, it is just as ominous as the album closer.  

Why should you listen to Folk Thief’s album is obvious, so what are you waiting for? Give it a listen here, and if you like it, support local (Vancouver, BC) music and buy it for only $10!: http://folkthief.bandcamp.com/ 

-Dylan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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~ by whet_hopped on July 7, 2011.

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