Release Date: Mar 24, 2017
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Country-Rock, Indie Folk
Few 21st century singers and songwriters have mastered the art of sounding sweetly bummed out as completely as Dave Heumann of Arbouretum, and if that seems like an esoteric talent, there's no denying his commitment to his craft. With each album from Arbouretum, Heumann reveals an even greater skill for baring his soul and evoking his weary sorrow, and 2017's Song of the Rose is no exception. This music lives in a no man's land between U.K.
Eight albums along and this Baltimore quartet's folk-rock project plunges deeper into the mystic. With roots in the modern Americana of Bonnie Prince Billy and Cass McCombs, but with an eye on Western philosophy, Eastern spiritualism and a love of Mother Nature, Song Of The Rose is one of those tasteful slow-burners that often blossoms into transcendental art. It's no surprise to learn that founder/ guitarist Dave Heumann practises Tai Chi: Arbouretum's trademark stately pace mirrors that discipline's mindful deliberation and makes for a particularly satisfying underpinning when the bigger, improvisational wig-outs descend.
Photo by Noel Conrad Song of the Rose by Arbouretum Song of the Rose divines a vintage synthesis of rock 'n' roll's heavier elements with folk and prog rock's more cerebral and mystical lyrical inclinations. Medievalism, pastoral imagery and spiritual themes figure heavily, serving as metaphors for social and ecological commentary. Hailing from Baltimore, their name inspired by an area tree preserve, Arbouretum turn in their most focused and deliberate effort yet, evolving naturally in subdued shades from dark to light.