Customizing something that isn't broken could seem foolhardy. However, when Mawkin suggested to Jim Causley the idea of a collaboration, it was a no-brainer. And now the fusion is complete, and firing on all cylinders, we have a youthful smorgasbord of talent in one neat package.
The tracks on 'Cold Ruin' will be familiar to some, as the release is certainly underpinned by tradition. One of the exceptions is 'George's son,' which arrives by way of John Kirkpatrick. Composed for a theatrical production of Far From The Madding Crowd, here this simple tale of dogs and sheep is far from mundane. Instead it's a swirling bawdy tale of intrigue. A fitting opener, as the drama doesn't subside through their take on 'Botany Bay' or 'Mariners.'
For 'Come My Lads' they serve up a crystallization of their many talents. Deserving of a review in itself, this lovingly researched and restored tune has a punchy trademark Dave Delarre guitar rhythm, rapid melodic riffing from all, and skin-tingling catchiness when Lauren McCormick's voice joins in the chorus. Hats off to Stu Hanna, of Megson, for some imaginative production work here and throughout.
'Cookie Monster' showcases James Delarre's writing capabilities and reveals the origin of Mawkin:Causley's unique sound. This instrumental is a tightly knotted and many stringed beast that beats at the heart of most of their material.
Trying to pin down a good description of Jim's voice is a challenge. It's certainly sounds more complex with the passing years, and yet, it retains an innocence, close to a sense of wonderment, as if he surprises himself with what its capable of. He brings all of this to bear on 'New York Trader,' which Nancy Kerr felt would suit him, when she suggesting it.
It's a bold and unorthodox sound that reveals further delicious nuances with each listen. And due to the mini-album's brevity the guys never lose their grip on you.