Elfin Saddle – Devastates

It’s intense, and this feel carries on throughout with tracks like Kiboho Chaos Hand (arguably the best track on here), which could be fairly described as a High Goth folk march; very much in the manner of side two of Yeti, an amalgam of clashes, squeals, drones, bangs and chants.

 

Constellation http://www.konkurrent.nl

 

A fine, full and dense album (by dense I mean it’s quite some trip, and not something to be taken lightly or listened to in a half-hearted way). Be warned, you need to have your sense fully geared up to appreciate it, it is one of those records that can make you giddy or just plain old tired if you’re not in the mood.

Devastates has got a lot to offer, it is very seventies in the way Yeti or Liege and Lief is, it’s serious stuff and sometime you do feel the earnestness and “authenticity” gets in the way. At its worst, the record does feel like some elaborate Masque, or solemnly enacted folk dance performed on a “special day” for the amusement of a visiting head of state, say. But, enough of me jabbering on; when it’s good it’s a damn good listen. The opener, The Changing Wind, starts as a drugged, dreamy folk drone based on a repeating guitar line and some fairly abstract (and Japanese) vocal parts. All of a sudden, things kick off and a sort of groaning, grinding sea shanty develops. It’s intense, and this feel carries on throughout with tracks like Kiboho Chaos Hand (arguably the best track on here), which could be fairly described as a High Goth folk march; very much in the manner of side two of Yeti, an amalgam of clashes, squeals, drones, bangs and chants. Boats gives us breathing space courtesy of a crackling, richly textured plod that has this reviewer visualizing a slowly moving ice-flow, or crumbling shale slide.

In fact the slower tracks have a deceptive power about them – The Power and the Wake is a tense lament, which overcomes a fairly nondescript opening minute or so and slowly drags the listener into its sparse, melancholy world. The same can be said with Invocation one of those tracks which sounds exactly like its title. The only real let down are bits of In A Blanket of Leaves, when things get a little too Nuts in May for my liking… (About four minutes in you feel like yelling “get on with it!”), but luckily the record rights itself for a breezy send-off in the form of The Wind Come Carry.

Enjoyable but we warn you, this is to be digested at your leisure.