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Album Review: Arborist – ‘Home Burial’


Album Review: Arborist – ‘Home Burial’

Reviewer: Bradley Worsman – Any album that houses beautiful messages within beautiful songs that make a beautiful track list, along with beautiful production and almost perfect lyrics would be concluded as a good album. Potentially even a great album. Great is what you will find within the tracks put together by the Belfast group Arborist. It is a rich bundle of sounds which deserve to be heard. The album, Home Burial, is full of emotion that taps your very soul with each passing note. This is a journey, and one that you need to take, but to do this recording any justice, you need to find that quiet corner and just listen. This is a celebration of the senses but you need to commit to it from the off.

It is a sweet bunch of ballads combined with some ‘vigorous’ acoustic work. We could say aggression but this work is articulate and ever-so gentle array of sounds is far too complex to be simply called aggressive. There is however a dark undertone. The opening track, ‘A Crow’, complete with subtle piano and string work, encapsulates the enticing and mystical sensation of beauty, yet that undertone brings dread. Hope with fear. Anger, yet peace. Life and death. This emotion comes through in the next three tracks which feature subtlety that the vocal, the strings and the guitar work. On the tracks, ‘Dark Stream’, and, ’I Heard Him Leaving’, the string work is utterly sublime. So great in fact, it pulls at the emotions, as if it’s a prerequisite of listening to the song. The classic string work does not hold its momentum unfortunately, as it begins to stray to the background, and the electric guitar takes its place driving the melody. The spell, and the continuity of the album, is broken. In some tracks, such as, ‘Twisted Arrow’, and, ‘Incalculable Things’, the use of electric guitar, rather than acoustic, grabs your attention while supporting the vocal and the delicate lyrics. At times, it clashes with the lead vocals, and it jars, giving an oversaturated sound that can pull you out of the feel of the album. Fortunately, the guitar work gels towards the latter half of the album which is the strongest part of the entire recording.

Up until the track, ‘Rules of the Burial’, the album had its tone perfectly planned out. A wonderful concert of instruments set the mysterious mood which questioned the listener. Then we have a bit of a dip and lyrics begin to seem contrived as though the story is being forced along its timeline. Momentum is restored with, ‘Incalculable Things’ which reinvigorates the listener and does not let up until the final second of the recording. Even the production seems ever-so cleaner with the, ‘The Broken Light’, and, ‘A Fisherman’, which sends us on our way and we have a grin our face. The ending to this album has some of the best tracks in the entire record. The final minute of ‘A Fisherman’, is sublime and it definitely delivers a punch as you try to hold back the wave of emotion.

Simply put, this album is literally filled with such clear and melodic instrumentation it is awe-inspiring. It is elegant, presenting such an articulate and luscious album that it makes you want repeat the journey you just took while listening to it. There is no doubt that the mid-section of ‘Home Burial’ is a lull in the story progression, but overall, Arborist delivers a great collection that is sure to remain in your head and heart for some time.

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