It’s been no short journey for indie-folk outfit Arborist. Their last album, Home Burial, was nominated for ‘Best Album’ at the NI Music Prize (check it out if you haven’t – ‘Twisted Arrow‘ is one of the all-time underappreciated NI tracks). Now, with skipper Mark McCambridge back at the helm following a brief solo stint, comes a flurry of new music, the latest of which is the magnetically gruesome ‘Here Comes The Devil’
The second single from the sophomore album A Northern View, ‘Here Comes The Devil’ draws from McCambridge’s familiar moody well of influences; fans familiar with his work will welcome back the vocals that sway and groan with a wisened ache, the gloomy rhythms and tangible symbolism. But where once there were stretches of country flecked alternativism, there is now a cavernous sonic palette. Both beautifully crafted and mixed, ‘Here…’ is powered by a genuine push beyond personal comfort boundaries and it is all the better for it.
The combination of instrumentation that borders both bright levity and dark isolation (mostly via the contrast between funeral parlour keys and clear, cold acoustics) does a great job at showcasing a genuine feeling of foreboding without capitulating to melodrama – the arrival of the aforementioned Devil seems more of an inevitability than a threat, but McCambridge and co. persevere in the face of insignificance.
Accompanied by a music video that’s glacial descent into chaos mirrors the growing emotional catastrophe prophecised in McCambridge’s panicked lyricism, ‘Here Comes The Devil’ is a slow dance for the end of the world. A welcome return.