Fern Knight: Fern Knight

By: Josh Potter

It's been a pretty spell since folk music wandered off the family farm in search of bright lights and big city, but try as you might to divine how Fern Knight's brand of acid-folk fits in North Philadelphia, you will be left scratching a thoroughly post-modern itch that feels kind of good when you realize it's not about to go away. With their eponymous third LP, the band conjures the Scottish moors from just outside the Jersey Pine Barrens. Harp, cello, bells and pastoral fuzz guitar back Margaret Wienk's gossamer voice in pagan paeans to sundew and lapping sea foam. Lines like "fiddleheads and pitcher plants will be our umbrellas" call to mind Vashti Bunyan (with whom the band has, not coincidentally, shared bills), but it's delivered with the cosmopolitan affectation of Jenny Lewis. Baroque in the darkest sense of the term, this is the kind of disc in which you expect to find buried messages – ones that compel you to spin it backwards just to make sure. Despite a somewhat tiresome middle section, the album-closing “Magpie Suite” is well worth the wait.

JamBase | Gentle Reaches
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[Published on: 6/1/08]

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