The sound of Within The Depths Of A Darkened Forest is strongly defined by Erin Welton's distinctly appealing voice and Scott Ferrell's otherworldly guitar playing. Erin's vocal style has a soft quality that is pleasing to the ear and fits well within the musical context. Her lyric writing ability is both abstract and amazing. Some songs have deep metaphorical meaning, others are just beautifully poetic. The guitar is often hypnotic, infusing a powerful element of escapism into the mix. The bass guitar is sometimes melodic, and in some compositions it arpeggiates broken minor chords, constructing a sturdy foundation for the rest of the instruments. Tastefully reverbed drums play intricate yet subtle rhythm accompaniment, keeping the arrangements quite interesting.
A review from twoblock.net/ | 8/10 |
I've recently lamented the loss of bands that explored a certain sound that I considered to be one of the more promising ones in the last decade, that of dream-pop. I'm a sucker for airy female vocals, delayed, arpeggiating guitar work, melodic bass and spare percussion — the sounds made known in the early to mid 1990's by bands like Siddal and Love Spirals Downwards. Out of nowhere though this stuff seemed to disappear entirely but left an indelible mark on me...
Enter Florida's Autumn's Grey Solace. When I first read about them, I thought it was too good to be true: comparisons to Siddal, LSD, and Cocteau Twins! Breathy female voices! Minor chord guitars! No, it just couldn't be what it was made out to be. Then I received their debut self-released CD, Within the Depths of a Darkened Forest...
The remarkable opening track, “Resonant Dusk,” makes it very clear that this duo, consisting of songwriter/guitarist Scott Ferrell and keyboardist/vocalist Erin Welton, while they have not forgotten what was happening a few years ago are not content to just imitate. The title of the song is very appropriate. The guitars chime and resonate a beautiful melody, glissing at just the right moments while Erin's angelic-yet-strong voice lilts and shimmers over the song, conjuring up images of the approaching nighttime. A similarly sublime mood is brought forth on “Cast to the Seas in Storms.” Major and minor chord guitar interplay (my favorite!) and an extremely smooth, engaging vocal line float over the ethereal backdrop created by the keyboards, wide-open bass tones and drum patterns. It's hazy out there, but it's not bleak.
Though a few of the tracks have much to be desired melodically — “Forgotten, Fossilized, Archaic” and “Reflections of Falling Leaves,” in particular, sound winded and/or too emulative — the most perfect ones are towards the end of the disc. With its arpeggiating acoustic pickings, layered vocalisms and a near-pop tune — though still wrapped in gauze — “Lost” is a flat-out dreamy delight. The closing title track has a dissonant guitar note that scrapes against the gossamer sheen of the gorgeous verse, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The chorus is monumental, really, reaching heights of beauty that I thought were long gone. And “Eve” is just simply a stunner, definitely forecasting the future of dream-pop, which according to this track looks real nice.
In all, Autumn's Grey Solace exhibit a professionalism and strength not often seen in debut self-releases — you'd swear they've recorded a few albums before this one. The songs, for the most part, are fully realized and brilliantly executed, and Erin's voice is, simply put, breathtaking and not in any way generic. A fabulous debut.
1. Resonant Dusk | Ambient electric guitar feedback and crystalline guitar embellishments envelope a whimsical vocal trailed by a canyon-slapped echo.
2 Forgotten, Fossilized, Archaic | Driving bass and drums with richly distorted slide guitar and soaring angelic vocals.
3Shadows of Moonlit Nights | Strummed 12-string acoustic guitars caress the ears while synchronized guitar echoes galavant. A poem set to music, the vocals conjure imagery.
4 Cast to the Seas in Storms | A pulsating ambience of deeply reverbed drums immersed in diffuse guitar melodies and drones. The chorus introduces an explosion of lush, dripping wet guitar chords and expressive vocals.
5 Eve | Sparkling 12 and 6-string acoustic plucked arpeggios and melodies under airy, celestial vocals.
6 Reflections of Falling Leaves | Intense vocals supported by melodic bass guitar chords, exotic drums, and mind bending guitars.
7 Lost | A spectrum of dense, eerie vocal harmonies and flowing guitar rhythms.
8 Within the Depths of a Darkened Forest | A blanket of morose tones over a throbbing bass line, the end transforms into an eruption of ethereal bliss.