Friday, 18 July 2008

Spiral Earth Review

Cor blimey, we got this 'ere lovely review from Spiral Earth. Cheers chaps.

The debut album from Telling The Bees who formed in 2007 around the songwriting of Andy Letcher, his songs of 'darkly crafted folkadelia' are brought to life by the assembled talents of Josie Webber, Jane Griffiths and Colin Fletcher. Andy Letcher is the pre-eminent authority on English bagpiping and the magic mushroom, what a combination...

Folkadelia is a gloriously enthralling term, hinting at untold depths with a nod and a wink, beckoning you into a secret world of mystic sensuality, yet it can all fall flat if it fails to deliver the whole experience. You can't unlock the gates without being prepared for the come down when they close, true psychedelia has that element of melancholy that is the flipside to the euphoria. Without that counterbalance it's just a pastiche. Untie The Wind has that chill of winter air blowing across it's beautiful surface that makes it truly resonate on all level's of the heart and soul.

We all get a polaroid moment of an albums sonic profile, for me with this album it's Cello and English Border Bagpipes, they carry that torch of melancholia through the glades and greenwood that make up this album. And it is Wood, in all it's forms, that is a central theme here; whether in the material that willingly gives itself up to become the instruments that make the music we love, or in the rage of a land ravaged by mankind's so called progress. Songs that delve so deep into the Greenwood that they invoke memories of other times held together by customs we have lost.

Telling The Bees have created a heady soundscape of pagan earthiness 'On the footpaths and byways of England you are never alone' (Quietly Raging). Yet it is not an off-with-the-fairies noodling desire for a better place, it has a darker, angry heart, in the past Letcher has put action to words in anti-road protests 'on the motorways and carriageways of England you are always alone'. These are songs that delve very deep, they repay repeated listening.

There are many points of reference within this album, their MySpace list of influences includes Vashti Bunyan, Espers and the wonderful Ozric Tentacles, if there is one influence that stands out for me it's Comus, their shade haunts the deepwood of Untie The Wind; the drone of a deeply bowed cello set against an insistent fiddle conjures an edgy sense of unease that sets the spine a tingling.

Untie The Wind is an album of sensual, powerful songs. It's one of those rare things these days, an album that has many secrets, you can only unlock them if you take the time to really listen and submit yourself to the experience; Turn on, tune out, and listen to the voices of the trees...

Iain Hazlewood

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