Cutting her professional teeth among serious pedigree as a member of Psych-Rock collective The Eden House Orchestra, the ethereal vocals of Belfast’s Louise Patricia Crane have dripped honey with such luminaries as Monica Richards and Julianne Regan. Debut solo album Deep Blue (Peculiar Doll Records) sees a host of Rock legends lend a hand to create a work of strange, wistful charm, paying due deference to a number of influences in the process.Continue reading
Amalie Brunn is a chameleon of the most striking, variant shades, which makes the English transalation of her of her alter-ego Myrkur (‘Darkness’) something of a paradox. That darkness, of course, comes from the Dane’s lyrical content, and frequent Black Metal incursions into the Folk-based music she peddles with wondrous feeling. New album Folkesange (Relapse Records), however, eschews the usual harsh accompaniment: focusing purely on her Scandinavian Folk roots and delivering a set of softened, heartfelt songs.Continue reading
Much like fellow English act Sleep Token, the buzz surrounding Liverpudlian trio Exploring Birdsong has been protracted and fed by the odd single release to whet the appetite of those who like their Prog quirky and melodic. Finally, the wait is over with new EP The Thing With Feathers (Long Branch Records), inspired by iconic poets Emily Dickinson and Seamus Heaney and the first elongated effort from the band.Continue reading
The latest act to trot off the impressive SvartRecords conveyor belt, Danish quintet Demon Head like to maintain the traditions of Doom. Third full-length Hellfire Ocean Void sees their devotion to Proto and Psych Metal expanded with a little modernity but sticking true to the format, a feat undoubtedly assisted by having legendary producer Flemming Rasmussen at the knob-twiddling helm. Continue reading
The Kingdom Field (Prophecy Productions), the 2014 EP from West Yorkshire project Darkher, was at once a thing of beauty and a powerful thrum evoking the bleak moors surrounding the culturally fertile English county. Those fortunate enough to have sampled that release have hankered for an album ever since and thankfully, with Realms (Prophecy Productions), that day has come.Continue reading
There cannot have been many more eagerly awaited releases this year than For This We Fought the Battle of Ages (Profound Lore Records), the fourth full-length from Utah Chamber Doom purveyors SubRosa. Continue reading
Those unfamiliar with the sonic charms of Purson may wonder if the glut of praise engulfing the Southend quintet is garnered mainly by mystical talisman Rosalie Cunningham. There’s more than enough retrograde magic oozing from the pores of second album Desire’s Magic Theatre (Spinefarm Records), however, to justify the hype.Steeped in Folk-Pop whimsy, ‘Electric Landlady’s blend of mid-70s Glam and Prog is graced with oscillating organ notes: its wistful melodies leaning towards All About Eve, alongside Cunningham’s Julianne Regan-like plaintiveness. The vocal lines of the Folky, progressive ‘The Sky Parade’ possess that band’s brittle, striking harmonies and evoke their halcyon days beautifully, whilst the body of the track retains an eerie chord structure and pungent atmospheres. ‘The Way It Is’ and ‘Mr Howard’, however, bring comparison with the Indie-Pop of Regan’s short-lived Mice project: despite this, the Psychedelia coursing through the album increases the heavy feel of the latter’s rhythms.
Creativity abounds throughout: ‘Dead Dodo Down’ intersperses circus-style cascades with the brassy quirks of Tori Amos circa Boys For Pele (Atlantic / East West), all underpinned with that heady whiff of patchouli oil. Indeed, it’s not the only nod to the Goddess of Heartbreaking Piano: ‘Pedigree Chums’ remains rooted in the …Pele experimentation, seedy sax embellishing a lazy, hypnotic delivery and Raphael Mura’s mesmeric drum sequences. The languid, swaying ‘The Window Cleaner’ and closer ‘The Bitter Suite’, meanwhile, perfectly embody the retro, ‘60s Hippie’ feel, possessing subtle Eastern progressions and an air of The Doors’ lighter moments. ‘…Suite’ is the most experimental chapter: moving passages accompanied by flute solos and Jazz inflections, whilst the elongated bridge is reminiscent of Bugsy Malone’s introspective scenes.
Nobody, however, can deny the influence of latter-day Beatles on the whole set. The dreamy ‘I Know’, its gently infectious vocal marrying with a ‘Sgt Pepper’-style centrepiece, is the greatest example: but the hallmark is everywhere and, strangely, it’s no bad thing when conducted by such a free, mischievous spirit. Radiating sunshine from even its most melancholy moments, Desire’s Magic Theatre will delight anyone who yearns for that 70s quirkiness to infect their lush, harmonic heaviness.
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