Todd Menton,
Where Will You Land
(New Folk, 2003)

Todd Menton's second solo album Where Will You Land is a mixture of original and traditional material. It is also a mixture of fairly serious and very strange music from the former front-man of Boiled in Lead. Several of Menton's original songs appear beside the traditional fare and are occasionally indistinguishable -- though the song about Bigfoot watching as people take casts of its footprints is obviously not traditional. But songs like "The .22 Man" have a very traditional sound.

Some of the trad material has been modernised (for lack of a better word). The electric guitar is played in the same style as an acoustic on several tracks with very interesting results. Perhaps the most interesting piece on the album (and possibly, the most flat-out bizarre thing to ever happen to a traditional song) is Menton's version of "The Rare Old Mountain Dew/Farewell to Erin." The singing credits go to "the little pinch-faced man" (who sounds like he has his tongue between his lower lip and teeth) and "the teeny tiny lady" (somebody singing very high in a squeaky voice). The instrumental "Farewell to Erin" is played on such fascinating instruments as grinders, circular saws, drop saws and door stoppers, courtesy of Savage Aural Hotbed. It creates an image of little gnomes sitting by the side of the road on a toadstool singing, then building a house, while even their work is musical.

Despite sounding very strange for one song, Menton's album is remarkable. Innovative arrangements and Menton's gravelly, emotional voice produce moving songs that stay with you. The title track is perhaps the best. Written by Menton, "Where Will You Land" is a pure, honest song about finding love. Also included are a rendition of "The 23rd of June," "The Rushes Green" and "Blow Boys Blow," all traditional, and two instrumental sets.

This album is very well done and Menton's songwriting, singing and playing are all fantastic. Even the little pinched-faced man and the teeny tiny lady bring a new and interesting twist to traditional music. This is an excellent addition to a collection, as long as you don't like your traditional music too traditional!

- Rambles
written by Jean Emma Price
published 27 March 2004