Speed the Plough – Now

Posted: 4 February 2016 in Albums

29th January 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

New Jersey’s Speed the Plough have been going some 32 years now, and Now marks their eighth album release. You could hardly accuse them of saturating the market with product, but by the same token, they’ve maintained a steady output, and it’s testament to their tenacity and commitment that they’re still going. Still, by pacing themselves with some lengthy breaks – not to mention various lineup changes: their current drummer, John Demeski, is the son of Stanley Demeski who occupied the stool a full two decades previous – they’ve kept things fresh, and Now sounds like an album that’s been honed and crafted and presented to the world out of a genuine desire to write and play rather than mere habit.

That the band-members have shared songwriting duties means there’s a real diverse feel to the album, although it holds together remarkably well. The result is an album that’s balanced, in terms of its temperament and tone, and it’s rich in its emotional depth.

The vocal harmonies are a defining feature as the band explore an array of mindstates. The fiery folk-infused rock of ‘Garden’ picks up the tempo and a switch of lead vocal duties after the languid but aching desperation of ‘Midnight of the World’ proves an effective move.

Rolling percussion and crashing cymbals provides a tension-building backdrop to the lilting duality and roiling tension of the theatrical-sounding ‘Because’, while there are hints of Jefferson Airplane about the rockier ‘More & More’.

It’s a solid album, but in many ways, to describe it as such seems to be selling it short. It’s an overtly folk album, and there’s a lot of bad and obvious folk out there. The lilting melodies and strong dynamics across the album and within the individual songs, coupled with the varied compositions place Now in the ‘good folk’ category.

Speed the Plough - Now

Speed the Plough Online

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