23 November 2018 (released)
30 January 2019
Barnstormer 1649 are actually Attila The Stockbroker and friends.
He has created an album that describes the circumstances leading to the escape of King Charles II to France from Shoreham in West Sussex including the revolution led by Oliver Cromwell and the creation of the Commonwealth after the revolution.
Musically it sits firmly in the instrumentation of the late sevteenth century but adds elements of modern rock – he clearly takes an influence from the Pogues combination of rock and Irish Folk – and it works very well.
He touches on the origins of the three great peoples movements of the time – The Levellers, The Diggers and The Ranters – and the album could be taken as a slightly nuanced view of the history of the English Revolution – fascinating in this time of great upheaval here.
He avoids either making the music too heavily biased in the styles of the time or too rocky but the vocal styling is a little uncomfortable to modern ears. Nonetheless, it all gels perfectly naturally and works on a number of different levels: as a good listen, as an introduction to the English revolution and, more importantly, to the peoples of the time.
Individual songs can be enjoyed either in or out of context, ‘Abiezer Coppe’ for instance, telling the tale of the Ranters and their outrageous leader or ‘Wellingborough & Wigan’ doing much the same for The Diggers but it is best listened to as a whole piece as the narrative brings much of the split between remarkably rich and incredibly poor into focus.
I do find ‘The Man With The Beard’ a little incongruous – a song in praise of Jeremy Corbyn that feels a little out of kilter – but politically it fits into the theme, if not the narrative.
Overall, a fascinating album and very well worth investigating.