Norwegians The White Birch have been away for many years (since 2006 in fact), but The Weight Of Spring sees them return, their post-folk-rock sound developed but intact. We shift from intimate, close-miced vocals to fully-realised crescendoes. Released within a beautiful cover by Glitterhouse / Glitterbeat.
7/10 Robin Staff review, 27 February 2015
The soft, ever hushed uplift of ‘The Weight of Spring’ is strange; naming themselves after Codeine, it’s only natural that The White Birch’s music moves as slowly and sadly as that band, offering a communal, hand-in-hand take on total misery. Remember how every Low song has harmonies, no matter how dour and defeated? Thank God for that: the best songs on ‘The Weight of Spring’ are those with the shamed, saddened backing vocals flittering in. Friends in isolation.
The White Birch’s sound is more akin to the pastoral folk of Sufjan Stevens (or an artist of similar stature with a more brooding voice, but I don’t listen to that mature nonsense, so take Sufjan, please) as shot through the lens of early slowcore’s aesthetic. With banjos and quiet strums, it plods; it uses strings as if they’re a boat’s sail catching a modest draft of air -- they move dramatically, but not intensely. Each piano admonishment and quiet drumbeat is used as part of the wallpaper, where it might otherwise be cause for a crescendo. When there are climaxes on this record, they’re barely noticed.
A double LP of this makes for sonorous listening, but that’s not necessarily cause for criticism: this is early-morning listening for the downtrodden, a record whose climaxes ascend like a bedsheet being lifted up. Ultimately, though, this is fine, reserved music that aims for little more than purity and prettiness. Good stay at home music, because home is where the broken heart is.
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- The Weight Of Spring by The White Birch
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