Kevin Ridley : Flying In The Face Of Logic

They Say :- Ridley describes the record as a form of continuation from Skyclad’s ‘Semblance of Normality’: “‘Semblance…’ was the first album where all the band members involved had roots in Northern England and references were buried within the songs. It was something I wanted to explore, so ‘Flying In The Face Of Logic’ became autobiographical and based upon my personal stories of life, love and growing up in the North-East of England.”

After spending 35 years in the music industry, engineering and producing for thrash-metalers Venom, Forgodsake, Anathema, Pariah and Skyclad, Kevin Ridley took the opportunity to emerge from behind the mixing desk and experience the role of a player, rather than Producer. Five years in the making, Ridley described the journey of writing the album as a challenge of learning “how to fly and make my own rules”.

We say :- Flying In The Face Of Logic is the debut solo album (after 35 years in the music industry) of Kevin Ridley, frontman of folk-metal pioneers Skyclad. Now this is a band I almost dismissed out of hand when I first heard them, courtesy of their violin-core cover of Venom’s Prime Evil. Fortunately I gave them a second chance and discovered a strange more-folk-than-metal world inhabited by some strange types, but with some awesome folk-rock tunes.

The tracks on the album are, apparently, inspired by Ridley’s native North East, and as well as contributions from members of Skyclad he is also joined by some notable names from the region’s folk scene such as Northumbrian pipes player Andy May and Folkworks fiddle player Sophy Ball. (I read that, I’ve never heard of either of them) and ex-Blitzkrieg bassist Dave Anderson.

Now I must admit to having a bit of a soft spot for folk-rock type stuff, but outwith the rather narrow confines of my self confessed obsession with the Waterboys it’s not something I ever actively seek out, in fact my interest in the genre usually only extends to avoiding the dreaded annual festive assault on the sanity by the Pogues 🙂

Flying In The Face Of Logic is clearly a very personal album as Ridley describes in detail the world he sees around him with an astute honesty, for example there’s something oddly touching about his ode to the angel of the north, Angel At Harlow Green. OK, he muses, it may be a rusty pile of iron, a folly of some council scheme but somehow it also a symbol of hope, a poignant reminder of a place called home.

You may have guessed that musically this is all fairly typical folkie fare but with it has that sincerity that just gives it a lift,  enhanced by the fact that these are (as far as I know) mostly new songs, rather than the finger-in-the-ear real ale drinking yawnfest of the trad-arr brigade. Ridley’s voice is something else and throughout this album the musicianship is something special, even to my ears more used to screaming guitars than violins, pipes, accordions and penny whistles (or is it a flute, I have no idea). My first listen to Flying In The Face Of Logic had that rare impact of making me WANT to listen to it again, as opposed to HAVING to give something a second listen before thinking about the review.

The whole Pogues / Raggle Taggle Gypsy take on folk that we come across in the mainstream may have been pretty much done to death, but there’s something more going on here. The tunes are undeniably excellent and will get the foot tapping (which is nothing less than you would expect for a genre which draws on such an old musical tradition) but more than that, much more, the well written songs are delivered with a sincerity that makes this something just a little bit special.