Birds: 2008

  • January 15, 2017
  • By T Rogers
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CD album (released on The Household Mark THM002)

"On the follow-up to their gorgeous eponymous 2006 debut, the North Sea Radio Orchestra deliver another magical mix of folksong, modern classical and baroque. To call them a modern chamber ensemble gives you no idea of the strange beauty of their music as they take the transcendent power of Vaughan Williams, marry it to the intricate shapes of Nyman and Glass, throw in the cheery playfulness of Vernon Elliott's soundtrack music for Oliver Postgate's short films and then give it all their own quirky spin.

Craig and Sharron Fortnam are the key players, Craig penning the melodically rich compositions and Sharron leading the players with a voice to make linnets green with envy. With lyrics borrowed from the romantic poets, the NSRO pull off the trick of sounding both curiously timeless and refreshingly original.  Most importantly, though, they play the loveliest music". Yorkshire Evening Post

"These exquisite pastoral settings of poems Blake, Hardy, Tennyson and Chaucer cast an intriguing historical light on the evolution of the British pop lyric. But thanks to the crystalline purity of Sharron Fortnam's singing, this London-based chamber ensemble's second album feels more like a heavenly daydream than a college assignment". The Daily Telegraph

"North Sea Radio Orchestra have at times been charged with a certain amount of bourgeois smugness and and also of being fluffy and twee. OK, so they’re not The Bug. But there is a passion and musical ambition here that is entirely lacking in much contemporary guitar music. Instead, this group offer ready comparison to the Hauntology aesthetic, where the exploration of tradition also undergoes a radical mutation. Yet perhaps this misses the point. Birdsis a unique 40 minutes - captivating, beautiful, peaceful and thoughtful. It’s seemingly so far removed from most people’s experience of everyday life that it can’t but help transport you elsewhere - it floods your mind eye with a pollution-free rolling green world and entirely resets the rhythm of your day. How could that not be worth exposing yourself to?" The Quietus

Birds is available from Amazon, Itunes and Google Play