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 →
The west Yorkshire idyll of Hebden Bridge was on the news a few years ago, highlighted as the lesbian capital of the UK – an unexpectedly contemporary claim to fame for such a quaint, old fashioned town. For the area to produce such explosive, edgy, mournful, and downright fucking sexy folk-rock as this EP from local troubador Jayn Hanna Wissenberg, aka Darkher, is also something of a surprise.
Before The Kingdom Field (Self-released/Independent) arrived in my inbox, I checked some more stripped-down material on YouTube and subsequently asked myself, “Why the hell have we got this?” Within seconds of the breathy, siren-like beginning, I had my answer: the cello. Rasping, calling like a spectre from the sea, it slices through the prickling folk lilt, giving the haunting rhapsody an, albeit brief, violent edge which kicked this listener square in the bollocks. That’s aside, of course, from the eerily beautiful, heart-breaking melody of Wissenberg’s voice, and the sparing guitar slicing through the atmospherics like a primal roar in a desolate field. The judiciously introduced drums of opener ‘Ghost Tears’ accentuate the chilling tambourine with a fearful ease; the whole evoking one of the jerking undead coming for vengeance in a classic horror. Yeah, it’s that good.
The gently-picked acoustic of ‘Hung’ underpins the unbearable hurt in the mellifluous vocal before more cello strains take us to within an inch of sinister euphoria. It’s the ensuing ‘Foregone’ however, where the rock edge really explode with a resonant riff constantly threatening to blow yet always holding back, whilst the drums swell then recede to a seductive, heartfelt sway in a ‘Polly Jean Harvey goes all melodic doom’ style claustrophobia. Look, there is a strong argument as to whether this should really be here on Ghost Cult or not but, basically, this is Myrkur for the ‘Folkies; a haunting, beautiful, teeth-edging horror and it’s utterly brilliant.