Like a hazy mist that lingers over a sunken valley and
blocks out the afternoon sun, The Pines’ spare, unsettled aesthetic casts Dark So Gold with an eerie, disquieting pall.
Four albums and ten years on, the band’s chief mainstays, David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey, continue to create a distinctive impression
with songs both haunting and embracing, whether it’s their tentative ballads or
more ominous undercurrents.
Ramsey comes by that talent naturally; his father, Bo
Ramsey, is a celebrated producer who counts among his credits work
with Greg Brown, Joan Baez,
Lucinda Williams, and, as of this effort, the Pines in
particular. Regardless, the Pines aren’t bound to birthright, given that songs
such as “Cry Cry Crow,” “Be There In Bells” and “Rise Up and Be Lonely” make the
divide between resilience and resignation and/or
embrace and intimidation difficult to discern. Those who seek instant gratification
will easily find it on songs such as “Dead Feathers” – its shimmering chorus
providing the allure – and in the gentle glide of “Losing the Stars,” merely
one of the album’s lovelier interludes.
The title couldn’t be more appropriate, and
indeed the shadowy designs are more than offset by a luminous glow.
DOWNLOAD: “Cry Cry Crow,” “Rise Up and
Be Lonely,” “Dead Flowers” LEE ZIMMERMAN