Brilliant musicians, thrilling performers, free-thinking visionaries and all-round good chaps as well…small wonder Lau are regarded as the epicentre of the new folk boom. And they’ve got shelves groaning with awards (BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARD WINNERS, BEST BAND, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2015 THE HERALD), a forest’s worth of ecstatic reviews and breathless plaudits from excited audiences in various outposts of the world ringing in their ears to prove it.
Lau comprises Kris Drever (vocals, guitar), Martin Green (accordion, wurlitzer, keys, electronics) and Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle) and together they effortlessly bridge the seemingly diametrically opposed worlds of acoustic folk tradition and post rock – electronics.
“Lau are a remarkable band – the most musically adventurous trio in British folk exquisite and hypnotic, musicianship at its best.”
Indeed, the republic of Lau-land has acquired almost empirical status as a journey which started with three blokes sitting down to play a few tunes on fiddle, guitar and squeeze-box at a kitchen table in Edinburgh one day in 2004.
Lau quickly burst out of the undergrowth into groundbreaking terrain. Since then Lau has not merely become one of the great success stories of the last decade – and a barometer of the fast-changing and increasingly all-embracing face of British folk music – it is now a by-word for an exceptionally creative community, inspiring a boldly varied and richly colourful array of offshoot bands and projects wielding daring ideas with a myriad of musical styles and unlikely collaborators.
The trio have an open-minded approach to recording that ranges from their own complex but eminently accessible tune-making to a startling re-working of Dear Prudence for MOJO Magazine’s all-star re-make of The Beatles’ classic White Album.
Lau have recorded and/or collaborated live with Jack Bruce (Cream), Adem, Karine Polwart, Joan As Police Woman, Northern Sinfonia, Elysian Quartet, Fred Frith, Anais Mitchell, Aoife O’Donovan, Tinariwen, The Unthanks and many more. Their music has been remixed and reworked the likes of by electronic producers Herbert, Leafcutter John and composer Richard J.Birkin amongst others.
With all three members also involved in so many different solo projects – and constant demand for their services on other people’s records – you wonder that they can maintain focus on Lau. Yet, as one, they describe Lau as “the motherband”…and one that carries such a unique spirit borne of the intuitive understanding and mutual respect between them that they are intensely proud of their achievements so far. And eager to pursue lots more…
“We’ve been proud of our music from day one,” say the band “Before we started Lau the three of us were all busy doing other things and we said then that unless we could do something dynamic we’d keep it to ourselves. Now the gigs feel amazing. We’re on fire right now and we’re ready for the next level and putting on a show that’s spectacular and dynamic.”
Dynamic is certainly the word. From almost the first moment they ventured out into public during 2006 (after a year solid rehearsing) audiences reacted joyously to their thrilling ensemble playing and the freshness of ideas and arrangements that constantly leap and dip in unexpected contours, with sharp mood swings and subtle nods to rock, jazz improvisation and other areas beyond the beyond.
A decade on, Lau are fearless innovators, festival curators (Lau-Land) a band that simply never stand still. Kris Drever, Aidan O’Rourke and Martin Green also create some of the best music being made anywhere in any genre.
‘Leagues ahead of the crowd – worthy of a David Lynch movie. Expansive sonic landscapes – it’s time to ring some changes – may frighten a few horses’
‘The sounds and spaces are striking.’
‘The intuitive and often beautiful interplay of accordion, fiddle and guitar glides to a new level as instrumental virtuosity blends easily with tasteful electronics.’
‘Classy, beguiling creation’
‘The world’s first Post-folk group – Lau continually break new ground’
‘A group stretching themselves and achieving great things’
THE MORNING STAR
‘This is music of such stunning creativity – one of most thrilling live bands, now one of most thrilling studio bands as well – what phrase, what note can possibly be coming next?’
‘Lau are cutting edge renegades, super-charged with confident, free-thinking music that will enthrall’
‘Echoes of Penguin Café Orchestra and later Beatles’ recordings’
‘Buzzes full of natural light from which the band derives it’s name’
THE BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2015
‘(Lau) deserve their garlands…innovative, beautifully realised’
‘for alternative music lovers as much as folk fans, brimming over with intoxicating, mesmerising music’
‘Quite unlike anything else out there, Lau have knocked their traditional roots squarely into the mainstream and along the way created some music of stunning complexity and beauty’
‘How do they do it? Another album of distinctive music drawn from the well of Scottish song and fiddle traditions…(but) combining spartan, almost barren soundscapes with the most luxuriant arrangements, often on the same track!’
THE LIVING TRADITION
‘(Lau is) a band who are unafraid to experiment and innovate – This is what we need more of, chuck out those templates and defy our expectations.’