After forming then exercising a new 12-piece band in promotion of Wayward Daughter, her 2013 career-spanning anthology, U.K. folk maverick Eliza Carthy set out to write a new album that would capture the group's unique clamor. The result is Big Machine, the ensemble's first recorded set with their wayward leader. Not unlike fellow Brits Bellowhead, the Wayward Band injects a similarly robust brass and string pomp into Carthy's folk-rooted music, though with the undeniable rock edge that she often leans on. From the seductive big-band jazz and rock orchestrations of opener "Fade & Fall (Love Not)" to more Celtic-inspired fiddle romps like "Jack Warrell's (Excerpt)/Love Lane" and "Mrs. Dyer the Baby Farmer," Carthy deftly wields her rogue ambitions, making for an inspired creative partnership. While her fiddle work has always been sublime, it's the pairing of her potent Waterson-inherited voice with the Wayward Band's appropriately eclectic instrumentation that really stands out. Guest spots from fellow U.K. folk scion Teddy Thompson and Bristol rapper Dizraeli only add to Big Machine's colorful charm.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger