9/10 Phil Staff review, 10 October 2012
Ooh, a new release on Serein which is undoubtedly a label of quality! I’m feeling a little hyper after my peanut butter Kit Kat chunky so you’ll have to excuse my excitement. Brambles are a new artist to me but those regular readers will know that they’re potentially my favourite as I’m always on the lookout for something new and brilliant. I think I might have found something as well!
Brambles aka Mark Dawson (ex-Brit, Aussie resident, currently AWOL in Europe) lived in a house in Melbourne called ‘The Painted Palace’ where he created this lovely sounding thing. He sat at his piano in the evenings (all palaces have pianos) and eventually ‘Charcoal’ was born. It’s a thing of complete beauty as well. Lush piano, plucked and bowed strings, woodwind instruments, field recordings and the occasional drum.
It’s slow paced and within minutes of listening to it you’re sucked into a world of cinematic neoclassical loveliness. All nine tracks on here are winners. There is no filler whatsoever which is rare for an album these days. ‘In the Androgynous Dark’ with its shuffly drums, beautiful piano refrain and haunting woodwind is nothing short of genius. ‘Pink And Golden Billows’ is a playful number with bouncy piano and woodwind with some misery strings thrown in. Reminds me a little of Hauschka in places. The album is downbeat sounding without it being depressing. Put simply the whole shebang is gorgeous. The melodies are elegant and simple and they’ll seduce your broken head in minutes! This is a brilliant nighttime album!
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