By: Eamon Foley
It may sound odd but Lewis & Clarke's second album is a visual treat. It is, at times, serene, a collection of stories, that when combined with the mellow music coaxes the brain into action like classical music.
This is an atmospheric album that thrusts your imagination far away from the grind of a daily commute. Hushed vocals float across haunting strings, frequently giving the feel of a modern day orchestra. The plucked harp and gentle guitar of "Before It Breaks You" harks back to medieval times and grand banquets. Viewed as an album, the core is distinctively folky (some have described it as neo-baroque) but there are many different themes and voyages within, not least an Eastward bent with strong Asian flavors.
At times complex, often unpredictable and always vivid, it does however plod along sometimes, descending into music for a spa visit. The sitar-like strings on "Black Doves" have a meditative quality that's also somewhat grating at times. Vocalist Lou Rogai sounds like Glen Hansard (The Frames) or a subdued Josh Ritter, but here the vocals often take a backseat to the music.
The album builds slowly, drawing you in gradually, before building to final track "Be The Air We Breathe," where a gently coaxed guitar creates the Oriental sound, while an urgent drumbeat builds in the background. The end is abrupt, surprising even. It might leave you wanting more, but some patience is required, and the right mood and surroundings couldn't hurt either.
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