The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Moulettes Jamie Renton , October 27th, 2010 07:31

Bucking the trend for po-faced tweeness that characterises so much new folk based music, The Moulettes offer an appealing combination of quirky instrumentation and darkly comic fun. Those involved may have played with Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling and Band of Skulls, but since coming together in 2008, these mini mussels have developed a sound reminiscent of no-one but themselves.

Hannah Miller (Cello / Guitar), Ruth Skipper (Bassoon / Autoharp / kazoo / Trombone), Ollie Austin (Drums / percussion / guitar) percussionist Roberto Arcari and violinist Georgina Leach (all of whom also sing) draw on baroque, cabaret and blues influences, all fil6ered through a peculiarly English sensibility of dark whimsicality. All very decedent and theatrical dontcha know, but saved from sounding pretentious, arch or just plain irritating through good humour and lightness of touch.

The songs are often based around narratives involving death, depravity and damnation. 'Devil of Mine' begins with strange creaks and crackles, before developing into a wrecked tale of demonic amour backed by strings and finger-snaps. The galloping stop-start 'Cannibal Song' suggests a novel (not to say extreme) way to extract revenge on an erring lover, while the closing 'Going A' Gathering; opens with Olde Worlde a cappella harmonies, building into a double time mutant jazz – folk hoe down.

The disc also includes a video of 'Devil of Mine' all heaving bosoms and flickering silent movie imagery. It's hard to pinpoint influences but the unusual instrumental line-up and darkly comic wordplay bring Tom Waits to mind... but a feminised and Anglicised Tom Waits (if such a thing is imaginable). The Balling the Jack label is known for showcasing sounds with roots in the blues, but this is devil music of a distinctly different stripe.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.