Review of The Mules present, Pick Your Own Album by Various Artists

Various, The Mules present
Pick Your Own
Album Review

Various Artists The Mules present, Pick Your Own Album

As the London scene splinters into numerous different divides and categories, The Mules have at least put their money where their mouths are in trying to capture the best of what's left, as it were. Their ten-week 'Pick Your Own' residency at the capital's Big Chill House venue quickly became a hotspot for the city's A&R brigade and many a respected aficionado alike, with people like Fyfe Guillemots having turned up as a member of the audience only to play impromptu sets at their hosts' request.

This compilation then pulls together the highlights of these ten weeks, with each of the fourteen contributors here (The Mules and their occasional solo-venturing guitarist Duncan Brown being two) having delighted audiences at what fast became one of London's most sought-after club nights, both from an artist's and spectator's point of view.

Anyone familiar with The Mules live set will know opener 'This Is Your Life', which kicks 'Pick Your Own' into action with some aplomb. The fact that both Eugene McGuinness and Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit follow suit here is a token of the triumphs of the night in itself. Both acts were unsigned and pretty much unheard of when they played 'Pick Your Own', but now both are being tipped as two artists most likely to break through on a commercially wide scale in 2008. Where the latter's rag-time folk is reminiscent of a modern day Waterboys, the former offers a scouse Oberst vision, albeit through the aisles of his local Tesco store.

Elsewhere, Jonquil play the kind of genteel folk that could unite summer sun rays and winter storms at the drop of a hat, while Emmy The Great plays the winsome spinster card admirably on 'The Catch'.

All in all, 'Pick Your Own' is an insightful compilation that despite lacking in diversity (most artists featured here are of a more acoustic based nature) certainly raises the bar in terms of quality. I guess bookings are already well underway for the next ten weeks then.


Dom Gourlay