In case you mightn’t have heard, it’s winter in Montreal. In a serious way. With the temperature hovering below -30°C for the last week or so, I’ve holed myself up at home with a few new records for company. The best of the bunch so far has been Arbouretum’s latest, Coming Out of the Fog, released on January 22nd, 2013. This is perfect winter music: dense, lush, and only one track clocking in under the five-minute mark. This ain’t party music, friends; this is for contemplating barren landscapes and huddling against chill winds.
Though they hail from not so far down the east coast (Baltimore, MD), it’s the British music press that first piqued my interest in Arbouretum with comparisons to folk hero Richard Thompson and 70’s-era Neil Young. Coming Out of the Fog continues in the folk-rock vein, with songs like “All at Once, The Turning Weather” and “The Long Night” offering intricate guitar work, heavy bass lines, and thematically rich, literate lyrics. A few tracks venture into heavier territory, notably Easter Island, which delivers the kind of psych-rock we’ve come to expect from Thrill Jockey label-mates Wooden Shjips- though at 2:45, they’ve done it rather succinctly. Another stand-out track is the pretty ballad “Oceans Don’t Sing”, which feels more personal with its simpler lyrics and lonely-sounding pedal steel.
Arbouretum’s dance card seems to be perpetually filled by European tours, but here’s hoping they come visit their neighbours to the north before too long. Until then, here’s a live version of “World Split Open” off the new record to fortify you against the cold:
(PSST- you diggin’ this? Head over to Arbouretum’s tumblr where you can download a couple of free tracks.)