‘Routes’ is a fascinating look at the many ways of using percussion with simple tunes - the tunes are all played on squeezeboxes, while the percussion instruments develop, envelop one another, build, and provide punchy beginnings and endings. It is clearly influenced by the many instruments and sounds found across the globe, stretching from South Africa to Quebec.
It opens emphatically with a great beat and a lively, catchy tune. 'Humours of Tulla' varies in a really interesting way using many different forms of percussion and a variety of different instruments, slowly building to an emphatic stop. 'The Whitby Drip' is very different; beginning with a metallic percussion sound and interspersing the song with interesting time-signature changes. It has a simple happy chorus, with a slower, punchy verse that builds throughout the song - again, adding many types of percussion as the song develops. The latter half of 'Polka Chinois' proves how a triangle can be a difficult instrument to play! With a complicated, fast rhythm, the triangle really adds to the dance atmosphere of this song.
The bizarre uses of percussion drive 'Dis Found Harmonium'; this may be the most interesting of the lot - it really shows how almost anything can be used for percussion! With a rain stick, nut shaker, and a cacophony of other interesting percussion instruments I've never heard of! 'Sweet Nightingale' opens and closes with beautiful, enchanting chimes, and really places the listener in the cornish hills. It’s slower and almost melancholic, linking to Cornish tin mining with stony percussion sounding like a thousand working axes. This is one of my favourites on the album; a beautiful tune, that really stands out from the rest of the album.
'Maid’s Stomach' - what a wonderful opener! Is it supposed to sound like ducks quacking? Or pigs oinking? Either way, I love the beginning! It has a really interesting change about halfway through, drastically changing to a more complex tune - the accordion is the lead in this song. It is less experimental with percussion, which highlights the brilliant accordion playing.
'Fanta' has another fascinating opener - though I can’t work out what the wonderful twanging chime instrument is. I love the fizzy percussion throughout the song, highlighting the song’s title. 'Brighton Camp' uses a reggae tempo, unlike the rest of the songs, beginning with a basic drum beat. I think it would be a great listen while walking on Brighton beach in the sun! It’s joyful, and reminds me of a happy day by the sea.
The last song of the album, and my other favourite, 'Molnbyggen', opens with a slow drone and calm tune, using no percussion at all in the song. It involves some really lovely harmonies and a gorgeous tune, giving the album a sweet send off.