Reviewed by Stephen Luff
In 1998 Burlap To Cashmere appeared (it seemed) out of nowhere with their folk rock fusion album 'Is Anybody Out there?' The album combined a wonderful mixture of Mediterranean and flamenco rhythms, pop and intriguing lyrics which hit you between the eyes. This combination was easily ingrained in the mind and soul after a couple of plays. Now they return after a long gap with the core line up intact, singer/guitarist/songwriter Steven Delopoulos, guitarist John Philippidis, and drummer Theodore Pagano, this time alongside producer Mitchell Froom (Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney). The result is not so much a step back in time but a maturing of the amazing talent here. In the gap between albums, folk and world music has gained respect and credibility in the ever changing musical landscape, with folk artists successfully appearing in mainstream charts. The album opens with Simon and Garfunkel style vocals on "Don't Forget to Write", "Love Reclaims The Atmosphere" is similar. "Build A Wall" is back to form with Stevens deep insightful lyrics designed to get you thinking, skimming over infectious beats."Tonight" is gentler, but continues the fusion of musical styles which the band does so well, and as for "Orchestratrated Love Song", I challenge you to see if it does not stick with you after a few listens! The final track "The Other Country" is simply outstanding in its lyrics, encouraging Christians in difficult times. The more I listen to this album, it is clear that Burlap have lost none of the unique style that made the first album so great. Welcome back Burlap To Cashmere!
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Stepping back into the spotlight after a decade away takes an unusually high degree of musical integrity. For folk-rock pioneers Burlap to Cashmere, a band that built a reputation for both exceptional studio projects and as an unyielding touring act in the late ‘90s, that integrity shines through on a new self-titled, 11-track project.
Burlap to Cashmere have an inspired blend of Mediterranean rhythms, rootsy textures and tight-knit harmonies, which lend the unmistakable air of folk-rock greats Simon & Garfunkel and Cat Stevens.
With their core lineup intact – singer/guitarist/songwriter Steven Delopoulos, guitarist John Philippidis and drummer Theodore Pagano — Burlap to Cashmere return with renewed focus, drive and energy. “There’s something about family and people you’ve known forever that makes the chemistry happen,” Delopoulos says. “There’s a sense of honesty and trust. That’s Burlap to Cashmere.”
On their first album in more than a decade, Burlap to Cashmere draw from all the influences that made them a touchstone band: Mediterranean and Greek rhythms, flamenco and classic American folk, to create a rich body of work that embraces the past while crystallising their new creative vision.