| Artist: HaWthorn|
CD Title: The Murky Brine
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
The newest album from the duo of Sieben’s Matt Howden and Sol Invictus’s Tony Wakeford, now recording under the name HaWthorn, this disk was created around the concept of the ocean – a collection of apocalyptic folk sea shanties, if you will. Both artists leave their marks on many of the songs. “Rose Coloured Sky” and “Oh Sea, You Have Taken Me!” showcase Howden’s northern English croon and rustic fiddles, while “Now and At the Hour of Our Death” is vintage Wakeford, moaning in his hollow voice over a thick layer of reverb. “Beneath the May Tree” likewise bears Wakeford’s hallmarks; no one else could sing the lines “Merry, merry are we/Beneath the May tree” so cheerlessly. Good though each of these songwriters is on his own, the best work on this album is their most collaborative. “Ship Money” lets Wakeford show off his intricate fingerpicked guitar work, but Howden’s vocals and gamboling sense of rhythm give the song a lighter, more pleasant pace. Conversely, Wakeford’s vocal depth keeps the hopeful lyrics and sampled ocean sounds on “When My Ship Comes In” more rooted, providing a nice counterpoint to Howden’s occasional hippie tendencies. The disk ends with “Carry Me Home,” and the song’s blend of frantic pagan fiddling, old world European drumming, and rich vocal refrain ends the disk with a perfect mixture of Wakeford’s sense of history and Howden’s naturalistic evocation. Whether or not you’re a fan of either of these artists on their own, this is a beautiful and melancholic album, highly recommend for fans of dark folk and acoustic ethereal.
Visit www.tursa.com and www.matthowden.com for more information on Howden and Wakeford’s various projects.
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