Old Fire presents a collection of remarkably lush and rich Songs From The Old South, thick with bass and strings and reverb. The presentation of this release is really very fine, being a 180g heavyweight vinyl LP housed in a Vaughan Oliver-designed sleeve with metallic printing. Additionally, there is a download code and a bonus CD containing an ‘ambient album deconstruction’. On Brooklyn Bridge Records.
- LP £25.99
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- BBR03 / 180g vinyl LP on Brooklyn Bridge Records, in deluxe metallic printed sleeve, designed by Vaughan Oliver. Includes download coupon and 13 min bonus CD featuring ambient album deconstruction 'Ghost Dreamers (1-3)'. Edition of 250 copies
- Includes download code
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This review was initially just the word lush written three hundred times, but Clint made me change two hundred and ninety nine of them to different ones. Like Bon Iver, ambient, sleepy and hyper-arranged… you do the rest. What I’m saying is that Old Fire, have made a record that’s almost over-gorgeous: it leaks prettiness out of every corner, its collation of vocals drenched in classical arrangements and held tones recalling a myriad of drone emoters including recent Sean McCann and Jessica Curry.
‘Songs from the Haunted South’ swings between meandering orchestral ambience full of string work into twanging country ballads with a singer and a song upfront: “Helix” is the first clue that there’s going to be structure to this record, with Old Fire’s protagonist singing as beautifully as Perfume Genius over an excess of country twang and darling piano. By the time the trembling guitar articulations of “Know How” have swung round the band are sounding something like Low mixed with Andrew Bird, bringing high drama and marching aggressions to a record that previously walked all over the place.
Fans of all sorts will find this record running to them: its initial ambient groundwork is one thing, but its seriously delicate indie pop, its earth-scorched slowcore and its country traditionalism are all part of the same patchwork. You can tell they’ve learned and loved from a lot of different types of beautiful music, and their cover of opera-droner Ian William Craig’s “A Slight Grip, A Gentle Hold” just about sums it up: an ambient classic reworked for plucked guitar and a myriad of harmonies. This record is ten diverged paths at once.
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