Friday, April 06, 2012


If conforming to regional stereotypes, you would expect this West Yorkshire-based group to be down-to-earth and laconic plain speakers with no fancy trappings. But from their name (pure Edwardian flamboyance) to their size (eight members) to the music (sweeping orchestral pop), Arthur Rigby And The Baskervylles are more about opulence and feel-the-width quality. Comparisons would include 90s orchestral troupe Jack or early Divine Comedy before Neil Hanlon got too arch for his own good. But these five songs about abbeys, bluebells, mills, hay bales and church-yards also come across as romantic tales of Bronte country as sung by Scott Walker at his most theatrical.

There is no Arthur Rigby in the group. Instead the band leader is Merseyside-born Benjamin Hatfield who scores the sumptuous music for his colleagues on violin, piano, bass, trumpet, trombone, saxophone and flute. Two years into their career and out this week, their first EP opens with a pair of fulsomely arranged tunes – there’s no ‘stripped-back’ here, instead soaring strings, horn crescendos, mighty choruses and barrel-chested singing. ‘Dark Clouds’ is as stormily dramatic as the changing seasons over the dales, ‘Follow’ has the rhythm and feel of open country gallop. ‘Nine Silver Rings’ that follows tones things down a little - pattering drums and echoing piano, gentler vocals with flighty flute – and feels somewhat slighter next to its overly dramatic companions.

The final two songs ‘One Stormy Night’ and ‘Ode To Gog’ restore the booming drama, even from a sleepy start on the latter. There’s something quaintly old-fashioned about Arthur Rigby And The Baskervylles - in name and stylistically. But “Tales From Pegasus Woods” is an indulgently enjoyable and big-hearted musical romp with a little pinch of flamboyant camp for good measure. Reight gud sooarts, d’ye ken?

Dark Clouds by arthurrigby

Arthur Rigby And The Baskervylles
Tales From Pegasus Woods [BUY]

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