Laura Lies In / UK / 2023
North London’s midnight man tumbles out his treehouse to deliver twelve potions of minor healing in “Iron Day”, his questing, soul-salvaging songbook. Brimming with majesty and maraud in equal parts, Genghis Cohn synthesises trad. English folk and woe with surrealist dream sequences on this debut long-player. A romance of two hedgehogs, devotional bone temples, broken shadows and sausage kings, GC conjures a grand slab of folk music that, in a warmly recognisable form, challenges its ancient rewards.
Previous acquaintance* with GC's lean, amorphous strain of experimental home recordings may encounter a menacing apprehension whilst trying to settle in the splendour of "Iron Day", unnerved by its posture and the anticipation of songs dissolving or amalgamating in rust and gob at any moment. Still minimalist and direct, but delivered by an altogether different jester, songwriting that has featured in many previous works is smithed into fine, well-wrought suites that build and blend through paced, tempered sequencing and playful, intricate storytelling.
Amidst cavernous inner-dialogue and brilliant, contorted pastoral sequences, GC’s guitar (reported to be over 100 years old!?) laps and thrashes alongside accompaniments of Lauren Collier’s aching violin, a lethargic drone and emphatic hand-percussion that drifts in and then out. A dynamic, earthy collection that places future barn-stormers like “Underneath The Oak” and the gentle blaze of “Onion” in cadence with the doom-stricken, ghostly slides as on “Misunderstood” and “Secrets”, all recorded in dazzling clarity that captures the cascading instrumentation as clearly as the settled, tormented humour of GC’s blues. Indispensable candlemeat and essential, joyous listening for fans of; Davy Graham, The Godz, Leonara Carrington, Smelly Feet, Martin Carthy ++