Arbouretum – False Spring
From Song of the Pearl : Thrill Jockey [Released March 2009]

2009’s first love affair with an American indie guitar band has struck early, in the form of Baltimore’s Arbouretum. Their third album Song of the Pearl is released in March and the lovely people at Thrill Jockey threw a preview copy over the fence at me (yes, some people still think that I only blog about music!)

Normally I’m not one for big crunchy guitar-scapes unless they’re framed by good arrangements  and attached to great tunes. Song of the Pearl has this in spades. Arbouretum is built around the writing of David Heumann:  to judge by his other projects Television Hill and Human Bell, Heumann is a songwriter (and photographer) to be reckoned with.

If Heumann’s songs hold Song of the Pearl together, the disc is underpinned by Heumann and Steve Strohmeier‘s guitars, whose interweaving textures recall (for me at least) the best moments of Sonic Youth or Neil Young with Crazy Horse.

Song of the Pearl sounds like an album from another age.  Perhaps intentionally, its eight songs and 40 minutes fit nicely on a 33rpm record. The dirge-like ballad Tomorrow is a Long Time has the sort of relentless melody that could have floated out of the Appalachians on a log. And the epic psychedelic folk-blues that informed Led Zep’s No Quarter haunts songs like Down By the Fall Line.

Arbouretum’s  previous two albums seem worth checking out too. Here’s the video for Mohammed’s Hex and Bounty off their 2007 album Rites of Uncovering:

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