arch garrison

A collective featuring the gathered talents of North Sea Orchestra’s Craig Fortnam and stars in battledress and occasional North Sea Orchestra fellow James Larcombe, Arch Garrison are set to step out with their second collection of gracefully beguiling intimacy entitled ‘I will be a pilgrim’. inspired by its surroundings and setting – the chalk downs of Sothern England – Fortnam and Larcombe whittle out through old song a deliriously breezy and bounteous treasure trove liltingly indebted and cradled in the richly brewed essences of a time, a season,, a moment long since past that airily documents and pays homage to a lost memory, a lost heritage of both the countryside and history of the land. Within this demurring delicacy sit eleven village fayre sprays all succulently powdered in pastoral aromas and indelibly crafted in an English eccentricity and longingly immersed in rustic folk hues (’Vamp 2’) flavoured and twinkled softly in baroque cultures and the vague weave of strange psych folk dialects. Reference wise amid its vivid colourfully trimmed tapestry its clear that the chief marker here is that of Robert Wyatt – there’s a softness, a care freeness and a thoughtfully willowy simplicity that irrefutably strikes a chord with the former Soft Machine-r as on the snoozing afterglow found on the homely hued ‘the oldest road‘. Equally gracing the grooves is the more than recognisable distant echo of Love flickering and disappearing amid the artistry as does the dream weaving rustic flurries of XTC (especially on the softly sun speckled idle some gem ‘everything all‘ as it sumptuously cascades to a prettified melodica that dances daintily to a baroque tableau that cosy toes to Syd Barrett)- while those with an admiring fondness for the likes of Lux Harmonium, Lupen Crook and the Oddfellows Casino (non more so is this the case than on ‘other people’ whose unworldly tonalities and erstwhile mystique could have easily fallen off the edges of ‘yellow bellied wonderland’) will easily find much here to cause a swoon or the oft occasional skip of a heartbeat. Beautifully pastoral, ’I will be a pilgrim’ never strays far from the mercurial setting instrumentals such as ’Vamp 1’ shimmer into those rare exquisitely toned environs inhabited by David A Jaycock not least his debuting set for early winter recordings ’the improvised killing of Dr Faustus and other mythologies’. From the moment the opening ‘where the green lane runs’ veers into view your instantly mesmerised by the clock working crystalline motifs, much like a playful (aforementioned) Lupen Crook its fragile and frail coda coos tenderly to a woodcut Elizabethan like magicalia, the effect is repeated again on ‘bubble’. Somewhere else the canterbury folk eloquence of the title track is traced upon a village skipping rural fayre dutifully daubed in a flighty airiness that sprightly tumbles, rolls and lollops across a pastoral patchwork. For us personally the collections best moment comes with the arrival of ‘o sweet tomorrow’ as it chisels out a gorgeously disarming poppet that tweaks subtle lounge trimmings, lazy eyed sunsets and rich golden rustic harvests to arrest in equal measure to a melodic murmur sighed in a ‘white sky’ era Archer Prewitt glow and the warm intoxicant flare of a Van Dyke Parks obsessed Ashley Park. All said a rare and rewarding beauty. Available via the household mark imprint.

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