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THE DRYSTONES - Apparitions 

THE DRYSTONES - Apparitions 
Private Label TDSR003 

This third release marks the continued maturing of the young Somerset-based duo of Alex Garden and Ford Collier. They have honed their skills at arranging and layering their material, presenting several songs and a bundle of sets of (largely self-penned) tunes. The theme is “apparitions,” or the things that appear, despite not really being there, and vice versa - an apt theme for their skillful arrangements, where sounds dodge in and out of reach. Instead of taking the fastest way through the tunes, they prefer to linger, to pull out bits of emotion, add in sounds from elsewhere, knead them and let them ferment. For example, the wistful landscape of Daydream, or the various textures of percussion on Dean’s. Or they can take an old chestnut like Nonesuch and make it sound fresh. They can also write epic songs, like Jack Crook, which reeks of tradition (the content – a highwayman who was executed and gibbeted and put on display – helps with the pedigree).

Everything on the album is played by the duo, and they show an ability to use instruments carefully. For example, the subtle addition of the tabla (which can be cringe-worthy if used by those who do not understand its qualities). Given the evolution between their last release (which won numerous awards) and this one, there appears to be plenty more in The Drystones’ tank. They end the CD on a slightly unresolved chord, so it sounds like there will be more. I look forward to it.

Ivan Emke


This review appeared in Issue 130 of The Living Tradition magazine