The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
CD Reviews  |  Classical  |  Live Reviews  |  Music Features

Arbouretum | Song of the Pearl

Thrill Jockey (2009)
By MICHAEL PATRICK BRADY  |  March 3, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

Dave Heumann has learned much in stints backing Oldham brothers projects like Bonnie Prince Billy and Anomoanon. Finding a distinctive voice with his band Arbouretum, however, has not been easy.

Their previous effort, 2007's Rites of Uncovering, was a fine album, heavy with Oldhams: Ned played in the band, Paul produced some tracks, and Will's influence was palpable in the record's plaintive folk warble. Song of the Pearl is a different story: from the opening riffs of "False Spring," it's clear that Heumann has been spinning Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere, trading in Oldham for Neil Young. And Arbouretum interpolate the classic-rock-radio vibe into something vital and engaging.

In "Another Hiding Place," Heumann's sneering lyrics paint a dusty, desolate landscape amid the band's roadrashed accompaniment. "Infinite Corridors" fades psychedelic, as fuzzed-out guitars threaten to tear the intricate vocals to shreds. The slower, dreamier title track and "Down by the Fall Line" provide a clearer picture of what Arbouretum can offer beyond well-crafted homage.

Song of the Pearl may not be full of surprises, but it provides a fresh trip through familiar territory that's more than idle nostalgia.

Related: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | Beware, Love and consequences, Review: Wendy and Lucy, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Will Oldham, Neil Young, Neil Young,  More more >
  • Share:
  • Share this entry with Facebook
  • Share this entry with Digg
  • Share this entry with Delicious
  • RSS feed
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Print this article
HTML Prohibited
Add Comment

[ 02/08 ]   Main Street Cruisers  @ Wolf Den @ Mohegan Sun
[ 02/08 ]   2nd Annual Middle Eastern Festival  @ Berklee Performance Center
[ 02/08 ]   Collage New Music conducted by David Hoose  @ Longy School of Music
[ 02/08 ]   "Beat Research"  @ Enormous Room
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   PIT ER PAT | THE FLEXIBLE ENTERTAINER  |  January 27, 2010
    Pit Er Pat, the minimalist duo of Fay Davis-Jeffers and the dubiously named Butchy Fuego, have pared down their sound in search of simple beauty, but the result is an icy album utterly lacking in energy.
  •   RJD2 | THE COLOSSUS  |  January 13, 2010
    RJD2 has fallen prey to self-doubt — having decided, it would seem, that sample-based music lacks authenticity, he's embarked on an ill-advised attempt to become a "performer."
  •   TRANS AM | WHAT DAY IS IT TONIGHT? TRANS AM LIVE, 1993 - 2008  |  November 24, 2009
    Trans Am are distillers of guilty pleasures, mixing fat AOR riffs with sleazy electronic accents and a propulsive attitude typically reserved for arcade soundtracks. What Day Is It Tonight? covers the DC-area band’s 20-year history with high-quality, high-energy live cuts taken from their many tours.
  •   THE BLACK HEART PROCESSION | SIX  |  October 06, 2009
    Formed in sunny San Diego, the Black Heart Procession write the kind of gloomy, downcast dirges you'd expect from less hospitable climates.
  •   FOOL'S GOLD | FOOL'S GOLD  |  September 22, 2009
    A big band with a big sound, Los Angeles-based Fool’s Gold come off as self-consciously cosmopolitan.  

 See all articles by: MICHAEL PATRICK BRADY

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2010 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group