Picnic - The Hut People Album Review
Posted: 27th April, 2012
They say you should never judge a CD by its sleeve, but taking one look at the humorous pair of chaps on the front of Picnic, armed with jolly grins and a picnic basket, provided me with a much-needed chuckle and a scratch of the head. And that wasnt the only merriment to be gleaned from this superb second album by The Hut People, the two blokes in the photographs, BBC Folk Award-winning accordionist Sam Pirt and percussionist Gary Hammond, who has previously dabbled with The Beautiful South its packed with smiley tunes all the way.
As it turns out, given the vast array of global musical influences spread throughout the fourteen instrumentals, Picnic is as apt a title as you could get for such a mouth-wateringly varied assortment. From track one, Shoes in Black, you are immediately transported to West Africa, followed by Spanish Basque-lands on the jaunty Bok Espok and Ireland and Whitby on the pretty Horseshoe Harbour and thats just three tracks in. All manner of instruments are deftly prodded, poked, caressed and sawn. Yes, I said sawn Bok Espok features a hand-built lagerphone, which is actually a broom-handle with bottle tops attached and played with a wooden saw. These guys are maniacs they also perform with log drums, Nepalese crotals, cajonito, ching chooks, bongudu, saucepans, giggle pens (!) and many more which will keep the Wikipedia servers ready and your little children fascinated.
The key theme with this album is fun. You cant but help nod your head, wiggle your toes or rustle up some grub to it, or at the very least chill out and wonder where on Earth they got half these bizarre instruments from. Not Amazon, thats for sure. THE Amazon yes, perhaps. The highlights are many, but my favourite standouts would include the Danish/Balinese Marvaerk, the cheeky One for Lily (Pirts first ever composition, written for his daughter), the traditional and simple Siege of Delhi and the opening three tracks.
It doesnt matter if you like folk or world-music or neither. Slip this music on, pour yourself a foamy one and tuck into this satisfying Picnic.