Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Offering - Bird By Snow (FALL ALBUMS 2012)


Bird By Snow
Gnome Life Records.

SCQ Rating: 76%

Fletcher Tucker knows how to compile a full-length. On his fifth outing as Bird By Snow, the songwriter weaves between tumultuous drones and rustic folk arrangements for a listening experience less about dual song-forms than about presenting a constantly transient weather pattern. Offering is anchored on mood, a woodsy serenity that nevertheless contains stormy fits over the course of the rattling “Before Names” and the dense field-recording of “Black Ocean”. It's almost too bad Bird By Snow’s drone-y ruminations have so much real estate on an album that fades out around the half-hour mark, but there's something to be said for intimacy when discussing themes as loaded as prayer and nature.

The highlights remain hinged on Tucker’s lyric-driven folk tunes, however, with “My People”, “Grace” and “Wide Open” forming meditative bones out of piano, guitar and percussion that sounds evoked from sticks and stones. Such a description, not to mention the cover-art, could easily mislabel Offering as a late addition to the freak-folk canon revived by Akron/Family and Devendra Banhart. But Bird By Snow’s eclectic and understated thoroughness dispels any kitschy categorization, instead gifting these songs of mortality and mysticism to anyone in need of solace this autumn. 

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