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Saturday, 23rd March 2019
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Gilmore and Roberts - Conflict Tourism

Conflict TourismKatriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts  have been nominated for the BBC Folk Awards on more than one occasion.  They’ll win at some point, when it’s their turn. But if it’s a best album gong, for Conflict Tourism, the duo’s fourth release, then there’s something wrong with the voting process.

Conflict Tourism is an odd, somewhat sterile title, but it turns out to be apt.  Most of the material presented here is forgettable and sometimes irritating.  Like the twee Peter Pan, or the "Resting on laurels is the pitfall of fools" line in Time Soilders On which is irredeemably naff and had your reviewer almost plucking the CD out of it’s slot to use as a Frisbee.

Thankfully, the listening experience is not completely without reward.  Stumble on the Seam would grace any album. The rhythm of the verse switches between staccato and soothing, before the chorus with a great hook and nifty backing vocals kicks in.

The opening track Cecilla (no connection to Simon and Garfunkel) has Katriona sounding a touch pensive whilst delivering guidance to a chum, although again, there’s a strange use of words. 

"Think of this as friendly fire..."  So it's accidental advice then.  Righto.

Ghost of a Ring closes things out in whimsical fashion and would have been an even more suitable ending if what came before had been in any way rousing.

But three tracks from eleven doesn’t get you a gold star, or any star for that matter. Middle of the road pop songs in a folk setting isn’t the worst idea, especially where accessibility is concerned, and no doubt committed fans will welcome the album, but for this listener it’s a bit too safe, a bit too Sainsburys.

Conflict Tourism is released on GR! Records on September 18th.  Gilmore and Roberts are touring through the autumn and appear at the following venues in the area covered by this site.


7th Sheffield - Yellow Arch Studios
10th York -  Poppleton Live
16th Chester - The Compass
17th Bangor - Blue Sky Cafe
18th Kirkham - Willows Folk Club
29th Manchester – The Castle Hotel


6th Otley - The Courthouse
14th Southport - The Atkinson

- Les Pilling


Gilmore and Roberts

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