Arbouretum – The Gathering

January 01, 1970

(Thrill
Jockey)

 

www.thrilljockey.com

 

Renowned
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and his writings might not be the standard choice
of lyrical fare for American hard rock. But The
Red Book
, Jung’s celebrated “confrontation with the unconscious” from
the early 20th century (Jung studied the pursuit of inner images created by the
human mind as they pertain to the definition of schizophrenia and the
development of one’s personality; it was only recently made available to the
public in 2009), serves as the primary source of inspiration for the fourth
album by Baltimore’s Arbouretum.  And the
complexity of the experimental structures by which the band has shaped these
seven compositions falls in perfect alignment with the magnitude of such heavy,
thought-provoking lyrical content. Frontman Dave Heumann and his bandmembers explore
a vast terrain of different instruments and textures to provide the most
expansive, electrifying work the band has delivered yet.

 

Opening
track “The White Bird” and its next door neighbor “When Delivery
Comes” feel like they could have come from a stonier Richard Thompson from
the Pour Down Like Silver days – if
he had Lungfish as a backing group. “Waxing Crescents,” meanwhile,
features vocals processed through an early ARP synthesizer, while a
tremolo-drenched Nord Lead haunts the background of their rendition of Jimmy
Webb’s country classic “The Highwayman” (both, incidentally, are the
handiwork of new keyboardist Matthew Pierce). By the ten-minute-long “Song
of the Nile” at the end of the album, the
band is waxing theoretical about Gnostic mythology, as a doomsday breakbeat
plods in the background like DJ Shadow remixing Amon Duul II.

 

The Gathering is easily some of the best work
with which the ever-prolific indie rock journeyman Heumann has been associated
– an album that is simultaneously a mind fuck and head trip, one will blow your
speakers as effectively as it will the concept of your own inner mind’s eye.

 

DOWNLOAD: “The White Bird”,
“When Delivery Comes”, “The Highwayman”, “Song of the Nile” RON HART

 

 

 

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