Favorite

Arbouretum: Coming Out of the Fog (Thrill Jockey) 

Led by founder, songwriter, vocalist and guitar player Dave Heumann, Baltimore's Arbouretum has often been described as folk rock, soul-blues, etc. These are easy terms to throw around, but they don't really convey what the band actually sounds like.

The band's newest album, Coming Out of the Fog does indeed fit the above descriptions, with Arbouretum picking up exactly where they left off in their previous two albums. Unfortunately, it's just too much of the same old formula.

While Heumann deserves credit for placing his vocals at the forefront of the mix, ultimately they are just too dominant. It's nearly impossible to ignore the distinct likeness that it has to '70s radio folk gods like Gordon Lightfoot and Mickey Newbury. And it tends to distract the listener from Heumann's natural strengths as a singer and writer.

The remaining three members create a foundation (drums, bass, guitar) for Heumann's voice to flourish. The relentless and repetitive floor tom-snare drum, bass and distortion-laden guitar patterns come off as a sort of trudging Americana version of noise acts like Swans. This creates ample space for Heumann's vocals and guitar solos to stretch out for as long as necessary.

Of the eight tracks on Coming Out, none really stand out. Rather, they tend to feel like separate parts of the same song.

This would be an interesting approach if it were merely a phase in the band's career. Unfortunately, Arbouretum are in a bit of a folk-rock rut and, thus, not out of the fog quite yet. Here's hoping they work their heavy grooves into newer territory next time around.

More by Brian Mock

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Don't Forget the Coop

    Interview with Alice Cooper
    • Jun 15, 2017
  • Battle Acts: Sgt. Pepper Then vs. Sgt. Pepper Now

    We have no Summer of Love to ponder, no Vietnam War to protest, no miracle drug that's going to save us. But we do have an unpopular president and Sgt. Pepper to marvel over all over again. It's not the same, but it kinda is, and that's about the best splendid time that can be guaranteed for all in 2017.
    • Jun 8, 2017
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation