Balmorhea – “Pyrakantha”
I tend to pretty quickly discard emails I get which list the members of the band, especially if they are accompanied by words like ‘guitars’ and ‘drums’; even worse if they talk about ‘energy’ or come from a State in the Southern US. This ticks all those wrong boxes and should go straight into trash. So, quite why I bothered to listen to this is still a bit of a mystery. But a serendipitous and fortuitous one. Free download.
There are drums, guitars and a Texas feel but it’s also very ambient in the envionmental and musical sense. I’ve no idea how representative this is of their work, their new album or whether their fans are prone to shouting Yeah Har and throwing their ten gallon hats in the air. But in far away Europe the gentle restraint of the guitars and ache of the instrumental mood sounds just dandy. The album – Stranger – is out on 2 October.
Blurb: Balmorhea’s music has always been guided by the experience of living in Texas, but with Stranger the band moves beyond contemplative reverence for the land and the history of their home state. The most forward-leaning of their catalog, Stranger presents worlds of tenderness, aggression, estrangement, and freedom using an expanded sonic palette including guitar loops, vibraphone, synthesizers, ukulele, and steel pan drums. In addition to these new sounds, electric guitars and percussion take the stage once occupied by piano and acoustic guitars. Refined over many months, and in one case years, the band took care to ensure every note on Stranger feels essential, vivid, and confident. During the writing process, Rob Lowe was living in Alpine, Texas, just down the road from Marfa, and Michael Muller had relocated to Brooklyn. Absorbing their new environments, and filtering them through a uniquely Texan lenses, they composed unsettled, but patient songs embracing everyday sensuality, youthful discovery, and nomadic reverie…awe-struck by the divine energy that permeates all of our earthly flora and fauna.