Arbouretum - Long Live The Well-Doer
By Mark Hensch
The shoegazing alternative outfit Arbouretum,
hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, like to take things slow. Crafting subtle,
piercing, and poignant songs, it's save to say reflecting mournfully on
the intricacies of life hasn't been this entertaining in quite a while.
Playing loose, flowing, and "film-noir" worthy tunes, patience truly is
a virtue and practitioners of patience will be well-rewarded with a quiet,
yet alternatively explosive, album in the Box Tree/Morphius Records release
Long Live The Well-Doer.
Sadly, the lame "Sands and Sands" is the
start to the album. Being pointless filler that sounds like a Radiohead
soundcheck, yet still mildly coherent, there is almost nothing to redeem
this strangely rambling song and it is a bad start to a CD. Thank God for
the fact I wasn't angered enough by this bad start to stop listening. "Jonas
Got A Tooth" is a genius shoegazer ballad, perfect for that heart-wrenching
indie movie soundtrack or that time in your life when you feel you
are living fiction. Some mourning back-up vocals (female mind you) meld
perfectly with the dirge psychedelic balladeering and trancy lead vocals.
"Don't Let It Show" is a folksy ramble, and another great track.
Look out for the ironic emotional detachment
inherent in the vocals, and it becomes painstakingly clear that tortured
folk music is not dead; it is rather alive, and thriving to boot. "I Am
a Somnabulist" twists around your soothed brain with quirky guitar strumming
before going into moody shoegazing glory all over again; though instrumental,
the production squeezes every ounce of passion and life from random keyboard
effects, quiet guitar chords, piano keys, pitter-pat drums, and orchestrations
galore for some amazing music.
"People Flock Not to the Good" is a dark
ballad with some perfect vocals and gray shoegazing alternative. Some interesting
string parts near the end will catch people off guard, and Bam! Another
great tune is born! "Wishteria" is a whirring, fun, and mechanical instrumental
track, definitely a good song.
"Early Bird Gets The Worm" is a strange,
lukewarm, and almost joyous fuzz ballad that I couldn't either love or
hate; people shall interpret this themselves, most likely depending on
mood. "All That Will Be Has Become, All That Has Come isn't Gone," despite
it's horribly unwieldy title, is an excellent eight minute wander through
bass lines, crystalline guitar notes, jangling drums, and weird psyched
out effects. An amazingly fun song. "Song's a Seed in My Garden" is a quiet
pop tune, and a powerful yet soft end to a darn good album.
Besides the pointless "Sands and Sands,"
I came away shouting Long Live The Well-Doer (i.e. Arbouretum) at
the top of my lungs. It's awesome to hear a band not afraid to make quiet,
peaceful, and soothing music about the very things that represent the opposite
of those ideals. Weird and surprising, Arbouretum will be doing well in
any person's CD player; but only if it gets the chance first. How about
you give it?
- Long Live The Well-Doer
Tree / Morphius
Sands and Sands
Jonas Got a Tooth
Don't Let it Show
I am a Somnabulist
People Flock not to the Good
Early Bird Gets The Worm
All That Will Be has Become, All that
has Come isn't Gone
Song's a Seed in my Garden
the Official website.
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