Release Date: Mar 20, 2020
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Singer/Songwriter, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Noise Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Country-Rock, Indie Folk
Built around the masterful songwriting and commanding vocals of bandleader Dave Heumann, Arbouretum spent the 2000s and 2010s slowly trickling out excellent albums of slightly cosmic folk-rock. As time went on, the band leaned into a British folk influence, lacing Heumann's narrative songs with haunting traditionally informed melodies. Ninth album Let It All In finds the band at the clearest articulation of their sound ever, blurring the boundary lines between woodsy folk, rural psychedelia, and an experimental take on roots rock.
Even when they were a young Baltimore band, Arbouretum felt proudly old. They emerged in the '00s amidst a scene charged with youthful possibility --the electronic fantasias of Dan Deacon, the aptly named projections of Ecstatic Sunshine, the dream-pop diaries of Beach House. Arbouretum, meanwhile, mined Richard Thompson's intricate British folk revivalism, Will Oldham's stately country psychedelia, and the gnarled roots of both.
To call Arbouretum's seventh studio album Let It All In eclectic is not far wide of the mark. 2013's Coming Out Of The Fog was probably worthy of the description too, and the band in general are somewhat of an enigma. They somehow incorporate elements of folk-rock, psychedelia, Americana, stoner rock and country rock into one huge melting pot to produce something occasionally resembling a sound that can be traced back to specific roots, yet other times throw out music that mashes all the ingredients into something unique and mysterious; new, even.