Heron Oblivion: Heron Oblivion

Pentangle with power chords.

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Curry and chips. Ronnie Corbett and Alice Cooper. Platform boots and drainpipe trousers. Sometimes the most bizarre combinations actually work a treat. Heron Oblivion are a further example.

This, the San Franciscans’ debut album, mixes sweet-tempered psych-folk with howling freakout guitars. It’s the pastoral style of Pentangle overlaid with crazed early-70s wah-wah duelling – think a pistols-at-dawn affaire d’honneur between Larry Wallis and Mick Bolton – and it’s very good indeed.

The culprits in this collision of styles are drummer/vocalist Meg Baird, whose ghostly singing style – very much in the vein of Jacqui McShee and Sandy Denny – evokes visions of sun-baked meadows and mysterious pagan rituals. So far, so Wicker Man. At the other end of the spectrum are six-stringers Noel V. Harmonson and Charlie Saufley, who clearly think Robin Trower’s Bridge Of Sighs is the greatest album of all time.

The whole caboodle coalesces on the 10-minute epic Rama, the listener spinning darkly down the rabbit hole amid a maelstrom of acid-washed guitars. It’s quite a trip.