Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Arbouretum’s The Gathering

How's your day going? Mine's in the toilet and circling down from there.

We're in New York, though, and we'll get to see some people we all really like here, so maybe things will get better.

In any case, I've got a review of the new Arbouretum up today at Dusted.

The music, too, begins in recognizable Americana forms and turns disquietingly toward the unreal. Heumann’s guitar solos, for instance, often start by echoing the vocal line, as if having sung the verse, he is now compelled to hear it again through the different timbres of an electric guitar. Yet as these explorations go on, they slip increasingly away from the stately structures of verse and chorus. The notes bend and turn back on themselves, tangling in a curlicued proliferation of ideas. What begins as linear progression turns into something like a kudzu’s flowering: lush, profuse and uncivilized. Only a very strong rhythm section — Brian Carey on drums and Corey Allender on bass — keeps these excursions from running amok. Indeed, on the disc’s last and longest cut, “Song of the Nile,” Heumann’s sludgy, oscillating riff repeats and evolves, caroming off a rock-solid beat, spiraling out into space again, and then plummeting back to the main theme. It’s cathartic, rather than chaotic, because of the strong foundation.



Jean-Luc Garbo said...

This has been the only review so far that makes me want to listen to the new album. Even the good review over at TMT didn't compel me. I'd rather know how a record sounds than how it fits into the big puzzle of someone's discography.

jenniferpkelly said...

Oh, thank you Andrew, you are much too kind.

It's a really good album, but I don't think any of them are quite as wonderful as Rites of Uncovering.

I've got an interview with David coming at some point on PopMatters.