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Arbouretum: Coming Out Of The Fog

Album Review

Second batch of early-modern history from the serf-rockers.

Baltimore’s Arbouretum make medieval rock, but not in a Rick Wakeman way – they’re less Henry VIII, more Piers Plowman, recalling dark days where men wore sackcloth and spent their days in the field picking out stones.

Theirs is a time when your knowledge didn’t extend beyond the next town, which could explain why their music, while distinctive, is a rather rudimentary and static thing, with a limited melodic spectrum – a bit like a woodcut of Deep Purple or Richard Thompson. They haven’t grown much since 2010’s The Gathering, despite the chivalric grandeur of guitarist, singer and songwriter Dave Heumann’s vision – ‘Come with me ‘cross the water/and I’ll clothe you in gold’. 

There’s no seven-minute bombastic wonder like The Gathering’s The White Bird or Waxing Crescents. Mind you, it was a cover of Jimmy Webb’s The Highwayman that drew many to the last album, and its sensitivity is rivalled here by the warm late-60s-style ballad All At Once The Turning Weather, which recalls Dylan’s I Shall Be Released. It features some exquisite, airy vocals.

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