“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning” – C. S. Lewis
Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea is an eloquent piece of work composed by a band of eloquent people and quite possibly the loveliest album I have heard all year… if I had a vagina I would cry.
This bittersweet arrangement of poetic tales takes the listener to enchanting truths. Truths we all know too well with growing up and experiencing life for ourselves; however, their lyrics sooth and reassure that this is the way it has always been and always will be. It is comforting and forgiving as it portrays a picture of fairytale magic for adults. The lyrics acknowledge the beauty in life’s complexities and it humbles at human emotion.
It opens with an atmospheric static radio, from which Scott’s voice emerges. Icy winds can be heard whistling and weaving in the background, while the xylophone sprinkles magic everywhere. This song is ‘Heart of the Land’, and so our story begins…
‘Ruins’ –…leave behind the relics of our old selves forget all the sadness in those ruins. An enchanting rustic tune that revs with a grungey blues guitar and gathers a stout rhythm. Arwen and Scott’s voices play along side one another in golden plains off in some distant and untainted land. It makes me want to run away with my piggy bank and get on a boat and just escape to a new adventure.
Perhaps the inspiration for change can also be found in the song, ‘Whisky!!’ This striking song harbors a longing for freedom. This tale of leaving somewhere or someone is all in the chorus. Faintly sung, initially by lead singer Scott Longmuir, it’s accompanied by a simple acoustic arrangement which gathers volume as the chorus repeats with Arwen’s vocal and the eventual voices of the band. It’s this repetition that seems as if they are psyching themselves up, and trying to find the courage to go through with something, perhaps leaving an old life behind.
Another favourite track is ‘Photographic Memory’ which truly is a story. The voice of a man tells the tale of a loss which tames the broad Scots accent- and makes for a more sincere sound. I was quite taken by this track. I think it’s quite brave and it’s this vulnerability that I find endearing, and lovable.
All of the songs from start to finish flow and lead you through a story. The album is “literal folk”, a song book. With ‘Heart of the Land’ standing tall at the beginning of the album, ‘Soul of the Sea’ closes the final chapter, a song I will never tire of listening to. Aptly titled, Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea is like two spirits that can never really be together, poetically expressed through the spacing of the two songs which bookend an album which has been crafted with artistic precision. I haven’t discussed all of the songs on this album because I don’t have to. Simply listen to it and you will hear what I mean. The whole album makes me want to bake soda bread and knit woolly jumpers. A wonderful album, it has been nurtured and handled with care and the outcome is something quite special.
Album Launch @ The Roxy Arthouse w/ Burnt Island & Matt Norris & The Moon Saturday September 18th.