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Song of the Pearl

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Song of the Pearl

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

A few months after releasing a split with Pontiak, Arbouretum returned, true to form, with Song of the Pearl. At first glance, it appears that very little has changed over the two years since Rites of Uncovering. Baltimore's Dave Heumann still pumps out elemental, minor chord Americana in the key of Will Oldham or Bill Callahan, and filters it through loud, doomy amps to make moody jams that could be mistaken for a beefed up Gordon Lightfoot, or Neil Young & Crazy Horse rocking through Blue Cheer's gear. It's a weird blend of power-driven grunge and melancholy: a fever dream that sweats out weary sadcore as it primitively pounds out acid rock drudge. If anything has changed since the last full-length, Heumann's become slightly more restrained. The songs never break the six-and-a-half-minute mark, even when they feature longwinded guitar solos. "Infinite Corridors," the stoner rock jam of the album, is the most guilty of sprawling aimlessly, but never loses focus in its slow build of a pentatonic blues groove into an fuzzy assault. In another visceral moment, "Another Hiding Place" paints the mood for a dusty soundtrack made for driving through the desert plains, with the line, "Daylight blazes, there's a carcass on the side of the road" before the tranquil, shimmering vibe of "Down by the Fall Line" darkens the pink sunset.


Recorded at Lord Baltimore Recordings by Rob Girardi over two months in the fall of 2008, Song of the Pearl is Arbouretum's third full-length and the first to feature the same core band on every song. With Dave Heumann on guitar and vocals, Corey Allender on bass, Daniel Franz (also sometimes seen with Beach House) on drums, and Steve Strohmeier on guitar, Song of the Pearl is more earthy and direct than the band's previous efforts. While Rites of Uncovering seemed to peer down from a vantage point far above, Song of the Pearl reaches out from within the mire itself. The songs seem to have more immediacy and urgency than that of its predecessor. Paradoxically, the album exudes hopefulness, even though the songs' protagonists are often ultimately and intrinsically doomed. “False Spring", the album opener, is propelled by heavy guitar rhythms that roll like waves against a levee until they finally burst through to unleash a flood of ferocious, acid-drenched, solo passages. Because of the relatively long time spent in the studio for "False Spring" (and the album as a whole), the band was able to add elements such as the backward piano chord-meets-reverse cymbal hit intro and the overdubbed distorted acoustic guitar, which is so placed as to eerily mirror the electric guitar lines and create an otherworldly psychedelic wash. Among other notable additions are the string arrangements of former guitarist Walker Teret. Their addition to the chiming, modal guitars of the title track enrich the baroque elements of the song, enlivening the elliptical tale told by the elegant prose-style lyrics. Arbouretum's sophisticated songwriting often has roots in the folk music of the British Isles, but it's treated in a manner such that these older song-forms are split open by an explosive rhythm section and the dueling guitar lines of Dave Heumann and Steve Strohmeier. The crispy burnt sounds of the capoed baritone guitar intersecting with the brighter tones of Steve's Fender and hollow-body guitars push tracks like "Infinite Corridors" and the epic "The Midnight Cry" into the realm of heavy rock.

Additional Information

Artist Arbouretum
Track Listing 1 False Spring - 5:50 2 Another Hiding Place - 5:16 3 Down by the Fall Line - 5:18 4 Song of the Pearl - 4:16 5 Thin Dominion - 4:35 6 Infinite Corridors - 6:14 7 The Midnight Cry - 3:24 8 Tomorrow Is a Long Time - 5:11

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