Youthful Bright Folk

Folk music has been making a bit of a comeback of late with Antony and The Johnsons winning the Mercury Prize for their fragile effeminate story telling, beating traditional folk performer Seth Lakeman. So folk music always goes down with the critics, but it's also a style that's been slyly creeping back into the mainstream, which would clearly delight earnest singer Jim Moray whose dramatic take on the traditional is a breath of fresh air.

Jim Moray has more than a great voice and BBC Folk Album Of The Year Award; he has a great marketing department who have him posing in a heroic and glamorous position in sparkly make-up for the cover of this album. You may not be used to listening to songs with lyrics such "and then the faithful enemy was quickly put to flight", but Jim Moray's bold arrangements featuring echoing brass and marching drums make every track a mini-epic.

While tracks such as 'Lord Willoughby' are pure traditional folk, others like 'Dog+Gun' are more breathtaking wanders through romantic, electric folk, at one point a shower of twinkling bells descends upon the listener (or weary page if we're getting into the spirit of things) before a wonderfully placed guitar solo slides in. Stunning 'Barbara Allen's sports drums which are sharp and high in the mix; a typical pop technique, but here they create a bright and breezy feel on this similtaneously searching and soothing tune, which peaks in an aching guitar-driven chorus.

There are so many perfect ballads on this album that all of today's pop songwriters should be packed away as they'll never touch the effortless folk splendour. The gentle rhythms of luscious lovesongs such as 'Nightvisiting' and 'My Sweet Rose' allow each word to have a lingering importance.

'Fair+Tender Lovers' manages to blend a soaring theremin sound into the blissful melody, giving it a contemporary lift, while 'Who's The Fool?' is a classic sincere slice of thoughtful pop, which even adopts a grungy edge in its welcome crescendo.

Jim Moray manages to revive traditional folk legends with a new injection of dulcet vocals and passionate arrangements, which capture the listener's imagination. This is a soothing and charming album and you can certainly do more harm to your ears than give this young folk crooner a try.