The Drift Collective is a compilation that presents such a consistent tone and quality that it appears to be the work of a single artist. From Mary Hampton’s vocal extravaganza ‘Eros’ to RG Morrison’s spooky parlour piano on ‘In Meadows’, this album evinces a fascination with subdued spaces between folk, electronica and old-fashioned popular song.
Hampton and Morrison provide the stand-out tracks, comfortably adapting acoustic instruments and discreet accompaniment to a direct and emotional song-craft that evokes the early twentieth century. Matt Eaton and Monk Jack Deer provide cheerier fare, rambling along with banjos to a jaunty beat, but the faded, sepia-tinted tone fixes the melancholy in the opening track , ‘I, Dancing Bear’ by Birdengine. Aside from the occasional lapse into the twee, The Drift Collective has the disturbing resonance of an undiscovered British folk tradition.
Despite the label’s acceptance of the fictional folktronica tag- electronic folk music will be more than a few glitches and cracks atop an acoustic guitar- Drift Records have assembled a strong roster that manages to embrace the past while retaining an ironic distance, forging new paths out of the acoustic tradition.