FOLKSWITCH CONTINUES TO RAID THE GREAT POETS for lyrics in their second effort, Offerings To Hecate: A Year In Love. This time they drag everyone from Robert Frost to Edgar Alan Poe in with their observations on love.
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It’s more consistent than their previous album, The Seasons, and certainly less ambitious. It’s softer and more acoustic as well, but still has the same garage prog feel of the first. But where Seasons was almost claustrophobic at times, with these songs the idea seems to have been sparse.
Or maybe loves make them softer people, I don’t know. But it’s an improvement, though there are still some louder moments. Robert Frost’s To Earthward wouldn’t have been out of place on a Leonard Cohen album. Thomas Campion’s sixteenth century poem Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes gets a British Invasion treatment. And Christopher Marlowe’s A Passionate Shepherd To His Love could pass for This Is The Sea era Waterboys.
According to a spokesperson for the group, this is intentional. “A lot of our favorite artists abandoned some great sounds in the desire not to be seen repeating themselves. So we figure why not go back and dig around in some of the musical mines they left behind?”
The British folk influence is more to the front on several of these songs, which works with the intimacy of the poems. Robert Herrick’s Upon Julia’s Clothes has the intimacy of a drawing room concert, as does Go and Catch a Falling Star and Sonnet 116. When they go heavier it’s almost cinematic, rather than metal, though even in acoustic numbers, one of the lead instruments tends to be feedback.
It’s still not easy listening, but certainly an easier listen that The Seasons, as well as shorter. Perhaps that adds focus, but either way, it’s a step up. Though not quite out of the garage yet.
11. Sonnet 116: Let Me Not To The Marriage of True Minds, William Shakespeare (1564–1616)