I cannot recall how I came to find this band, but I think Coldplay was actually pushing and hyping them a bit and lending them some support. Good for Coldplay… You win one point back from me for this band.
We still have issues, you and I, but I will simply say thanks.
The Black Atlantic – Reverence For Fallen Trees
With the opening notes of “Baiulus” you get an immediate sense of that mystic, moody folk music that is so deep and rich and popular now. AllMusic lists Travis, Embrace and Augustana as similar artists, so that pretty much thrusts them into my musical wheelhouse… It lists their influences as Elbow, Doves, The Police and Coldplay… Hello! You had me at my Elbow!
I would also add in Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. Bon Iver is especially appropriate given that this album was also recorded in a cabin!
Wikipedia calls them a Dutch “acoustic pop band formed around singer-songwriter Geert van der Velde, former vocalist for the American hardcore band Shai Hulud.” Do not know that band at all, but it does strike me a bit odd, considering how melodic and soft this one is.
This is their debut album and it was released for free digitally on August 21, 2009. Yes, I did say FOR FREE. It was like a birthday gift to me, and I think I have had it now for the two years…
All the more reason to pre-order their upcoming new EP, Darling I Listen and support the band.
“In February, 2008, The Black Atlantic started recording their album in a cabin owned by van der Velde’s in-laws, located in the small town of Saranac Lake, in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. For this recording, drummer Marcel Wolthof was re-enlisted alongside singer-songwriter Kim Janssen on various instruments. Janssen co-wrote some of the songs for the recording and has permanently settled in and joined the band. The band took a large part of these recordings back home to the Netherlands where they finished the album over the course of Spring 2009 and early Summer at the (now defunct) Paperboat recording studio in Zwolle.
The title of the album “Reverence for Fallen Trees” is a metaphor for “honour the dead” alluding to van der Velde’s grandparents, three of whom died during the recording process. The album deals with these topics – ‘remembrance’ , ‘grief’, ‘family’, ‘love’, ‘disenchantment’ – in a roundabout way, mostly through the use of natural metaphors .
Musically the album showcases a wide variety of instrumentation with a penchant for ambience and an abundance of melancholy, multi-layered vocal harmonies; inspired by such acts as Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and the Beach Boys. Rhythmically the band’s approach is minimalist and percussive rather than expansive; the band tours with only a snare drum, floor tom and ride cymbal.”
For the record, I came up with Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes on my own, before reading this… although all one has to do is listen to pick up on the similarities… It does not take a genius.
This album is a lush musical landscape… dreamy and sad and beautiful all at the same time… just like life.
So relax and breathe, just as this album does… and listen fully to this one. It is well worth it.