by / October 9th, 2009 /

The Bowerbirds – Upper Air

 3/5 Rating

(Dead Oceans)

Folk doesn’t get much folksier then when it’s floating, homespun, from the eco-friendly home of two lovers (an acoustic guitar and an accordion) and their friend (on percussion) in North Carolina.

As with its predecessor, Hymns for a Dark Horse, Upper Air is minimal in a hemp weave sort of way, songs here talk about love and nature in the most unprocessed language possible. With a reference to leaves, ocean, mountains, waterfalls, trees, hills or sky featuring on almost every track, the album has a soft evening glow hanging around it, the mood of the end of a long day lingering like the sad earnestness of its predominantly minor chords.

In the manner of Bon Iver and Adem, there’s plenty of great quality lo-fi modern folk on offer here. The airy coda to -Silver Clouds’ alone would be plenty of reason for Upper Air‘s ethereal cover- it’s wistful romance at its most poetic but unsentimental. On -Ghost Life’ Moore says ‘At the margins of the land I get to know your skin, where the sand dunes slope into the wild ocean, where the great plain heaves into a jagged mountain’ – repeatedly, nature measures love as Moore’s language seems populated with images of the natural world. This is what’s at the core of Upper Air. Like Neil Young’s Harvest, track after track talks love with all the nostalgia of a hike through the woods in crisp autumn air. Easily more soothing than the Arctic Monkeys’ angry pimps/urban ghettos imagery, but like Adem’s Homesongs, Upper Air‘s thoughtful weight can get well’¦heavy.

Not entirely unlike anything you’ve ever heard but this shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying a spot of endearing, additive free modern folk. Standout tracks include the aforementioned -Silver Clouds’, the anti-materialistic -House of Diamonds’ which never preaches but cajoles us, hippy style, to forsake the ‘greed of our culture’, the cosy but crisp -Northern Lights’, and touchingly neurotic -Crooked Lust’. Need to escape from the city? Stick this on and close your eyes.

Northern Lights:

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