Paul Oldham has surfaced in the fringes of indie and Americana for years — operating Rove Studios which has served as a home for his brother’s Ned and Will’s output and taking up roost in Royal Trux, Speed To Roam, and The Broadcast Choir. Within a certain crossection of indie-folk and country, his name seems to crop up among heads here and there. Feast of Smoke’s eponymous debut marks his first official collaboration with his wife Amber, who serves as songwriter here with her hand on the tiller of the couple’s dark pop wonder for Perpetual Doom. The pair enter their own offering into the scarred Southern tradition that Paul has helped foster, offering their own darkness into the pot.
The record is both intimate and aloof — creeping in close, like a whisper in the ear delivered from a source hovering somewhere in the ether above. The entire album has a late night flicker about it, as if every song was recorded by candlelight It’s a confessional that’s been caught on tape. The pair’s dynamic is rooted in a hushed symbiosis — glowering with hands intertwined. Feast of Smoke’s songs reflect back on the listener like a tri-fold mirror, each pane showing a different angle, a different shade of darkness and light. From folk lilt, to scarred punk and leathered glam, the band present an album that’s steeped in a lifetime of listening but beholden only to the whims of its central duo. Mercurial to the very end, the pair fill the speakers with a potent incense that’s rife with as much poison as it is perfume.
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