Spires That in the Sunset Rise


(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )

Spires That In The Sunset Rise (Graveface, 2004), 5/10
Four Winds The Walker (Secret Eye, 2005), 5.5/10
This Is Fire (Secret Eye, 2006), 5.5/10
Curse The Traced Bird (Secret Eye, 2008), 6.5/10
Ancient Patience Wills It Again (Hairy Spider Legs, 2012), 6.5/10
Ancient Patience Wills It Again Part 2 (Hairy Spider Legs, 2012), 6/10
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Chicago's female trio Spires That in the Sunset Rise (multi-instrumentalists Kathleen Baird, Taralie Peterson and Georgia Vallas) debuted with the amateur lo-fi noise-folkish tunes of Spires That In The Sunset Rise (Graveface, 2004).

They became a quartet with the addition of Tracy Peterson (who had just released The Artist Revealed is Tarlie Dawn under the moniker Tar Pet) for Four Winds The Walker (Secret Eye, 2005), devoted mostly to fiddle-based psychedelic folk music, contains too much filler. Too often anemic pieces like Ong Song and Serum become an excuse for sheer lack of inspiration. The shamanic invocation Four Winds opens the album in a promising vein, but very few songs live up to it: the funereal litany Sort Sands, the tinkling Wide Awake, the relaxing country-tinged pastoral music for hippies No Matter, but the one truly surreal combination of vocals and instruments is Shining. Most of the rest is disposable. By comparison, the festive eight-minute hare-krishna dance This Aint For Mama sounds positively refreshing, despite its lengthy coda of quasi-silence.

The more conventional This Is Fire (Secret Eye, 2006) at least focused on structure is not on originality.

Curse The Traced Bird (Secret Eye, 2008) contains only seven longer pieces. Black Earth is a rather tedious theatrial piece, but the nine-minute Party Favors successfully weds desolate Japanese-style theatre and dejected plucked strings. All the songs employ fewer instruments and, surprisingly, this feature actually lends more unity and coherence. It is almost a transition from childish psychedelia to adult chamber music. Nonetheless, the hyper-dilated psychedelic excesses of Underscore and the utterly surreal provocation of Red Fall hark back to the loose demented format of previous albums.

Ancient Patience Wills It Again (Hairy Spider Legs, 2012) completed the transition towards lenghty compositions (not just casually improvised jams) featuring a grave tone, an actual melody and much more restrained arrangements. The eight-minute Veiled Undertow is basically an energetic chamber lied for harmonium, fiddle, psaltery and banjo (none of which rises above a subdued murmur). The eight-minute Grandma is a levitating minimalist sonata disturbed by glitchy noises and angelic female wails. Baroque cello lines duet with a country fiddle in Child Of The Snow. The ten-minute November gets even too brainy and philosophical, bordering on prog-rock and dissonant classical music. The closer Well Tempered is a simply hymn with county-fair harmonium.

Ancient Patience Wills It Again Part 2 (Hairy Spider Legs, 2012) adds the austere nine-minute meditation Before Dawn, driven by a lugubrious harmonium drone with rare, occasional mbira and fiddle noises, an evocation of vast empty spaces, a soothing Winter Song, more reminiscent of Renaissance song than of acid-rock, and the whispered nine-minute Revella to the previous album's project.

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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