I suppose that, given the resurgence in the popularity of folk music, it was inevitable that the concept album should make a reappearance. Beloved as such things were in the days of excess that were the seventies, they are a bit too much like hard work for the modern day musician so it was with a mix of curiosity and enthusiasm that I approached “Restoration Tragedy” by Barnstormer 1649.
Barnstormer 1649 are, of course guided by the words of long time punk poet Attila The Stockbroker and, perhaps because of his overtly socialist political stance, this album seems less of a historical reminiscence than a reflection on how little things have changed with the passing of time. Our oppressors it would seem, have merely changed their name and the poor will always be the victims of whoever claims to liberate them from their shackles.
The songs themselves are mostly stories of the struggles of the past and draw both style and instruments from long forgotten times and this approach reinforces the honest intentions of the band and highlights the fact that artistic intentions, political stance and entertainment can co-exist if those involved believe in what they are doing. It is, therefore, an approach that successfully translates the events of the past into stories for today.
The years since Cromwell, and indeed punk, may have long since passed but “Restoration Tragedy” proves that Attila The Stockbroker is still more than capable of ranting at the nation. I raise my glass to him.