Stick In The Wheel are back with their second Mixtape featuring Cinder Well, C Joynes and Jack Sharp (Wolf People). Following on from their 2018 mixtape This and The Memory of This, Stick In The Wheel return with their second volume of explorations and collaborations. Against The Loathsome Beyond is named after a line in one of the tracks therein: Nine Herbs Charm is a 10th Century spell translated from Old English. Whilst the mixtape is underpinned by the tense low hum of discord, of troubled times and unrest, it also pulses with ideas, of hope, of struggle and a sense of future. Returning to the original line up as a duo, Nicola Kearey and Ian Carter (EAN) have spent this year mostly in the studio writing and experimenting.
Each tune is based on a traditional composition, many of which are medieval or earlier - whether that’s the heavy pagan throb of Down In Yon Forest, the bastardised midi synths of Drive The Cold Winter Away or the 14th century alliterative poem of Swarte Smiths, Smateryd with Smoke, spoken verbatim. Collaborations firstly take the form of experimental folk guitarist C Joynes with a new improvisation of Child ballad Georgie cut live in the studio, an urgent performance, the story unfolding, tumbling through every bar. Stick In The Wheel then remix Sang Kancil (from his recent album with the Furlong Bray, The Borametz Tree), into line with EAN’s more electronic roots. The second collaboration has Jack Sharp from psyche-proggers Wolf People and US/Ireland/Norway’s epic-folk-punk hybrids Cinder Well providing the drone and deep textures for Swarte Smiths, Smateryd with Smoke. “We set a rule about only using trad material as a starting point - then broke it with the remix and My Boy Is Heavy. Each track is rooted in our own culture, a tangible link to the past, and the people that are our ancestors. The legacy they left us is a rich one. We should heed it.” Stick In The Wheel are an uncompromising force, addressing the schisms of Britain with an assertive, original sound that occupies left-field folk, traditional roots, and electronic rhythms. Their critically acclaimed studio albums From Here (2015) and Follow Them True (2018) were Mojo and Guardian Albums of the Year respectively.