Reviewing the luscious Woebetide Hill recently was the perfect excuse, not that I need much of one, to break out the long and lavish words, pop my verbose hat on and really take the thesaurus for a spin around the block. My only concern is that having done so, do I still have enough words left in the literary arsenal to do the album justice without repeating myself too much. Ah well, whose paying that much attention anyway and those that are will probably forgive me. The Hollows is one of those albums that demands that you get clever with the word play, I don’t think that you can really do justice to such rich textures and deft sonic weaves with the sort of words that you would use to nail down a mainstream pop band or get to the heart of what a bunch of run-of-the-mill rockers are banging on about.
Take Soul Song for example. Anything that comes on like a little known mid seventies Tull track, wanders into the subtle pastures where the likes of Kate Bush might frolic…oh yes, she was a frolicker…cocoons itself in almost classical meets Mediterranean acoustica and is then content to drift around on the breeze, is hardly going to be happy with the label “catchy.” Similarly, the aptly named Strange Garden, takes some unpicking, a real 70’s acid folk tune; part psychedelia, part pastoral pop, part eastern vibes, part Summer of Love wig-out yet still holding on to the spirit of traditional folk at its core.
And when Kim and the gang feel like rocking out, they do so effortlessly, Hollow Hill being a brooding, bruising folk rock opus, one that grooves on raw guitars and big beats, that both kicks arse and cuts the mustard. The lilting, lullaby that is Woebetide Hill has been the perfect first single and calling card for the album, and Moonchild’s Lullaby is set to be the next, a wonderful blend of that re-imagined medievalism and more contemporary folk lines that the post rock and roll Ritchie Blackmore was so fond of.
All too often singles released as a sonic sign post for a forthcoming album prove to be the best bits; how often have you bought an album on the strength of one song and been disappointed? Exactly! Well, the two singles off this album are more akin to reading the blurb on the back of a book, it might sound intriguing, different and totally to your taste but get inside and you will find that that was only the start of the adventure and great as that blurb is, the novel itself then shoots off in all sorts of brilliant, well-crafted, imaginative and unexpected directions. Actually forget the tortured analogy, if you liked the singles, you’ll adore the album, it’s as simple as that.