Folk-rock that nods to both the present and the past

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Clayhill – Small Circle

What with the likes of Adem and The Earlies, folk-flavoured ‘rock’ is enjoying a resurgence. Like the latter, Clayhill are retro-modernists whose enchanting, occasionally rousing songs suggest both an affinity with Americana and a working knowledge of electronica. Which is no less than you would expect from a trio whose line-up boasts Beth Orton sidekick Ted Barnes plus singer Gavin Clark, a onetime member of cult folk-rock group Sunhouse and film director Shane Meadows’ regular collaborator. The result is an album that, as “End Refrain” and “Alpha Male” gloriously illustrate, adds a hint of Four Tet’s grace to Richard Ashcroft’s swagger.