The Pilgrim – Walking Into The Forest

Gabriele Fiori obviously has too much time on his hands. The Black Rainbows frontman also runs Heavy Psych Sounds Records, and it’s this outlet through which he has chosen to propel new project The Pilgrim, a duo with bandmate Filippo Ragazzoni, toward the masses.

Debut album Walking Into The Forest (Heavy Psych Sounds) seems to exist as a vehicle for the duo’s Americana roots, opener ‘Peace Of Mind’ a largely acoustic trip through sun-kissed fields, with the second half electrified by Hammond parps and a lead solo. ‘The Time You Wait’ is all languid, Hippy-Folk beauty, a wonderfully relaxing busker ramble through the haze of the campfire. Both exude the freedom of the late 60s, as does the more melancholy yet insouciant ‘Sailor’: its heavier, Low-end chords still entrancing the mind while Fiori’s dreamy harmonies soar over Ragazzoni’s drums.

The initial, gange-filled wisps of the delicate, somnolent ‘Dragonfly’ soon change pace and fire into pure Crosby, Stills and Nash: the harmonies more earthy yet gliding over fluttering, skipping acoustic riffs, Belle & Sebastian-flavoured flamenco solos and noodly keys. ‘Sunset In The Desert’ is an all-too-brief Country/Blues interlude, perfectly setting the scene for the Bluegrass rhythm of ‘Brainstorm’: an edgier vocal and oscillating sequencer not trivialising the wonderful acoustic bedrock and shimmering tambourine.

‘Pendulum’ is reminiscent of Cast‘s softer moments, a gentle murmur slowly brushing the trees, the metronomic rhythm mimicking the swinging weight while the wistful message marks the swift passage of time. It seems a more brooding mood is prevailing and the beautiful sentiment of ‘When I Call Your Name’ sadly drags a little like the unplugged ventures of Alice In Chains. The Eastern feel of ‘Secrets’, however, despite being more pared back than its predecessor, possesses more emotion and urgency: its dark loveliness increasing with a lift in tempo and brief flickers of drums.

The closing ‘Suite 2’ is another tender moment in time, the Hammond and Fender bursts adding to the emotive feel of the track, and is a gorgeous way to end a quite blissful journey: full of melody and passion whilst allowing those of a certain age a trip back to when such troubadours ruled the airwaves.

7 / 10

PAUL QUINN