Monday, 2 February 2009

Iain Archer - To the Pine Roots (Black Records 2009)

'To the Pine Roots' is Ivor Novello-threatening Iain Archer's new album, an ethereal collection of plaintive lost-in-the-forest acoustic mournful ballads that evoke the blackness of night and the yearning of loneliness. 'Black Mountain Quarry' is an off-kilter vivid scene of a man at war with his surroundings, unable to cope with the expanse of his surroundings, allowing them to tussle with his soul. 'Streamer on a Kite' and 'The Acrobat' show a literary affectation, with the songs taking a more narrative focus, both showing the pithy futility of life. Archer remains a struggling restless voice throughout, unwilling to give in to his isolation an separation from others. The tender acoustic pickings of 'Mia don't be lonely' reveal a lover in tune with the ebb and flow of his partner. This is an emotional album, as sparse and remote as Bon Iver's 'For Emma... Forever Ago' just lacking Bon Iver's conceit of loss and broken heartedness. This album is completely unfashionable and out of step with current trends, but works on the conceit that good songwriting will always be classic. This is a classic sound and Archer's mastery makes for a thorough concentrated listen. Worth immersing yourself in.

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