Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Blending some fine and expressive blues harmonica playing, courtesy of Jon Burr, with two convincing voices, Paul Naylor and Emily Levy, a sound emerges that is at once both original and appealing at the same time. It’s probably the blend of two non-blues voices with a strong blues harp that makes this Leeds-based band’s sound so unique. The album, made up of songs predominantly written by Paul Naylor, though each musician, including guitar, banjo and ukulele player Jonny Flockton and bassist Adrian Knowles, has a share in some of the songwriting, showcases some fine writing, notably the infectious album opener “This Isn’t Fate”, with it’s emotive chant-like refrain and the title song “Once Lay a King” , complete with some vigorous harmonica soloing. “Restless Night” is a clear demonstration of the band’s improvisational dexterity, with some fine scat vocals along with a credible conversation between the harmonica and the banjo. Difficult to categorise (though why on earth should we), Once Lay a King is a fine debut with a few memorable moments.