ALBUM: Lunatraktors – ‘The Missing Star’

Alt-folk duo Lunatraktors are a collaboration between choreographer and percussionist Carli Jefferson and non-binary vocalist and composer Clair Le Couteur. Lunatraktors re-imagine folk, mixing tonal percussion, tap-dance and harmonic singing with whistles, drones and analogue synth. Labelling what they do as ‘Broken Folk’, and set on working against the often misogynistic undercurrents of traditional folk music, they are now set to release their second album The Missing Star. Following acclaim from the likes of Mojo Magazine for 2019’s This Is Broken Folk, the latest release features thirteen tracks, poignantly drawing on eight hundred years of British and Irish traditional song.

Opener, ‘Rigs Of The Times’, reworks a traditional song with polemical lyrics about Brexit and Covid 19, as does ‘The Unquiet Grave’ – reflecting on the tragic consequences of government austerity on one woman’s life. Title track, ‘The Missing Star’ is a theatrical and satirical protest song on the subject of toxic nationalism.

However, the politics are personal as well as political. Woven throughout the album are quieter ballads, and unsettling instrumental pieces. The haunting ‘My Witch’, ‘The Keening’, and ‘The Blacksmith’ take poetry and song from the traditional, effectively rendering them through the power of voice alone. This is where you see Lunatraktors’ power in storytelling, with Clair’s voice taking on the different characters, allowing each to tell their unique story. A cover of ‘Lover, Lover, Lover’ (Leonard Cohen) featuring close harmonies and percussion, provides another direction on the album, as does the closing track ‘Ecclesiastes 1:1-18’, a prophetic reflection on life’s travails.

The Missing Star is an intriguing and innovative album. In its clever reworking of old and new, what endures still resonates – love, betrayal, loss, corruption. Stories of our common humanity beyond borders and time are told with a beautifully stirring musicality and striking emotion.

Watch the poignant new video for ‘Rigs Of The Times’ – which has featured on the new Electric Muse boxset – here:

The Missing Star is out on Monday, 21st June – fittingly for an album oozing such sparkling majesty, the Summer Solstice. Pre-order and find out more here.

Fi Ni Aicead

Photo Credit: Peter Campbell-Saunders

LISTEN: Alice Mary – ‘Too Much’

Alice Mary is an indie-pop musician living in East London who makes music combining a mixture of electronics, guitar, and introspective lyrics. Following 2017’s I Am Here EP and charming us live at The Amersham Arms a few years back, she has now shared new single ‘Too Much’. A tight pop production with Prince-inspired synths and guitars, it fuses together pulsing samples and angular vocal melodies. With additional production and drums from Alex Walker and a pumping bass line from George Kerridge, it’s upbeat, playful music with a darker subtext.
Infectious and full of energy, it begins with the excitement of a new relationship, which we hear in the ’80s–style sampling and the funky guitar sound (reminiscent of a Prince classic), yet the vulnerability starts to come through in the second verse (“I’m an island of unrest…”). The contrast in the chorus between “too much of a good thing” and “you’ll never be enough” perfectly sums up the song’s themes of sex and anxiety. Like all good pop songs, it is relatable, capturing the nerves and expectations of being intimate with someone new, all in a succinct rush.

We’re off to a good start with this song, the first of four singles to be released this year from Alice. We can’t wait to hear more of her heartfelt, shimmering sounds.

‘Too Much’ is out now. Keep your eyes peeled for a brand new live video, set for release on 24th May.

Fi Ni Aicead