[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Stepping out on their own, the English formation Revbjelde deliver a wonderful EP which I hope presages an album at some point. Deserted abbeys, forgotten ports and wandering spirits are just some of what you’ll find on here; each of the six pieces contained transport the listener to the exact time and place mentioned in the press release. What gets me the most is that even though this is a short but sweet collection of songs you know that they agonized over what to put on here ceaselessly. Every note and word is precisely placed with an exacting attention to detail that others (myself included) would be unable to maintain.
You taste the sweet, salty skies of Arundel and can picture in your mind the busy wharves teetering under the strain of men and machines. Those lusty songs sung by sailing men drift across the still night air into your ears along with the scent of iron foundries heaving and swaying as the hammer falls upon the anvil again and again. There is the deadly stillness you encounter at Reading Abbey, a place long closed to the public where history hangs heavily in the stagnant atmosphere of the soil. Dolly Dolly navigates through this abandoned, forgotten realm giving us all the gory details; he spares nothing in his frank appraisal of Reading, it’s a chilling synopsis to encounter but I go back to it repeatedly, gleaning further insight with each play.
And there is the title track to contend with also; Cornish folklore comes to life in a most colourful manner thanks to its being anchored by the improbable combination of didgeridoo and slide guitar. You couldn’t have dreamed this piece up if you tried. Once the establishing riffs lure us in we are shepherded across the desolate fens by a trumpet, banjo(?) and divinely brushed percussion. Perhaps this is their take on the blues, the damn thing grooves so hard it demands that you get up and move to it; everyone involved here takes their parts quite seriously, from the gorgeously reverb laden guitars to the dissonant vocals meant to embody the Buccaboo itself. This is an EP, don’t forget, so no matter how much you want more it ends abruptly.
The cleverest thing done by them is the inclusion of a track from the remarkably executed ‘The Delaware Road’ soundtrack which they took part in. Quite plainly it is meant to whet one’s appetite, so by all means do look into it. I’m looking forward to seeing where Revbjelde go in future as the range of what they do appears to have no limit, will they do a vocal album next of ragtime covers or will they find more occult detritus to sift through and cleave the sound field with murmured broadcasts from a derelict, murky past. It’s a waiting game but I’m in no hurry to move on.
Neither are they.