Arbouretum’s earthen character emerges in the opening notes of Song of the Pearl, and it doesn’t diminish over its eight tracks, burning ember-orange, flaring brighter with each reverb-washed riff.
The follow-up to 2007’s critically acclaimed Rites of Uncovering, Song of the Pearl finds songwriter David Heumann leading a cohesive collective through haunting, heaving compositions that amass beneath his austere vocals. The depth of sound is tangible and textured, rumbling and brooding, and echoes from a prolific soul. Like Arbouretum’s previous releases, Heumann’s work still recalls British folk, but his verbose lyricism is more refined and form-fitting for the accompanying soundtrack.
Song of the Pearl isn’t perfect; the unbridled sound often feels strained by the gloom. But there is hope here, hope that glimpses from the album’s tracks, and, more importantly, hope for the future of a band that is evolving beautifully.
Song of the Pearl is out now on Thrill Jockey Records.