The horribly-named 'New Weird America' movement has produced some fantastic music - Animal Collective, Six Organs of Admittance, MV&EE, Charalambides - and Nathaniel Ritter and Troy Schaeffer of Kinit Her and Burial Hex present their latest project, Wreathes. Ostensibly a psychedelic folk group in that they have violins and acoustic guitars and sing very dramatic, lolloping songs about spirituality and love, in fact they are quite a cunning and clever band, using chants and song structures in ways that you wouldn't quite expect.
This is clear from album opener 'Odes' which sets the reverent tone with chimes, leading into a gorgeous but monstrously metallic-sounding organ, pushing the momentum of the song as it gathers speed with a strummed guitar line underpinning it, and the usual chanted vocals turning the whole experience into a reverential and uplifting experience. They achieve an awful lot with just some chimes and liberal crash cymbal usage.
Second track 'Bones of Love' sounds like The Bedlam Six lost Louis Barrabas, made friends with a Hari Krishna, got him drunk, and persuaded him to write a love song. 'The Reigns' has an incredibly slow build that becomes, with a the addition of a simple trumpet line, a folky Ennio Morricone piece with some fantastic harmonic chanting towards the end.
'Speech of the Tides' begins with a Primus riff, which leads into what The Magic Band would sound like if they replaced Captain Beefheart with a druid, but becomes quite wistful with what sounds like a simple recorder over the coda. 'The Great Gate' seems to have been lifted wholesale from the Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia soundtrack - so sun-baked, with its perfect riff running through the middle, like The Shadows moving into the House of the Rising Sun with, again, a monk.
Album closer 'Blessed Exits' is probably the weakest track, but that could just be because by that stage I was completely chanted out. The style throughout the album remains completely consistent which is great when it works but it makes spotting the filler a lot easier when it's there. One weak track does not a bad album make, however, so please do investigate Wreathes.
Posted: Mon 16 July 2012