This is a review of "Boys From The Abattoir" recorded by Waking the Witch. The review was written by John Hepworth in 2007.
This CD concludes with desire for a solid Yorkshire Boy. Well, if it weren’t for the age-restriction built into that phrase, a front runner could be Michael Parkinson – because much offered by Waking the Witch in the eleven new songs on Boys From The Abattoir has the type of showbiz gleam that earns the attention of Barnsley’s elder statesman. Could this music be the right the sort of career vehicle to carry these four guitar-playing singer-songwriters from Leeds City Varieties to Las Vegas without needing to refuel? A super-confident ease of delivery, some peachy harmonies, and more than ample versatility await the explorer of what producer Dave Creffield describes in the press release as ‘a new kind of sound. I suppose you could call it indie acoustic.’
The album’s blood-tinged title might have listeners expecting a bit of rock music to go with it, and though not found in ‘Rock and Roll’ the contemplative opening track, it soon make its first appearance with ‘Me Leaving Me’, where a hint of a rumour of Fleetwood Mac might be imagined among the other sounds. In ‘Only Human’ a compelling and successful dance-rock number, a bit more wallop in the vocals would be an option; it might be a benefit also in ‘Horse To Water’, and in ‘Yorkshire Boy’ it could be a definite gain.
The requirements of other styles are met to perfection : ‘Jenny Thornton And The Boys From The Abattoir’ swells from delicate Celtic to stirring Northern brass ; a restrained yearning ballad gets string accompaniment in ‘High Fire And High Water’, ‘Look Right Back’ develops a Caribbean feel, and a tasty combination of bossa nova and cynicism laps its way through ‘My Conscience Keep’; penultimately, big balladry shapes ‘Top of the Hill.’ There’s absolutely no doubt that many an audience find all this a real treat.