Arbouretum - Song Of The Rose album review

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Cover art for Arbouretum - Song Of The Rose album

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Eight albums along and this Baltimore quartet’s folk-rock project plunges deeper into the mystic. With roots in the modern Americana of Bonnie Prince Billy and Cass McCombs, but with an eye on Western philosophy, Eastern spiritualism and a love of Mother Nature, Song Of The Rose is one of those tasteful slow-burners that often blossoms into transcendental art.

It’s no surprise to learn that founder/ guitarist Dave Heumann practises Tai Chi: Arbouretum’s trademark stately pace mirrors that discipline’s mindful deliberation and makes for a particularly satisfying underpinning when the bigger, improvisational wig-outs descend.

Often (rightly) compared to Richard Thompson-era Fairport Convention, Heumann’s restraint – and that of his band – is commendable. Where a fug of overdriven psychedelic effects could overwhelm the message and the music – particularly on the ritualistic Call Upon The Fire and the exquisitely trippy Absolution Song – he instead maintains subtlety, style and superb songcraft in a slow movement that’s all his own.

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.