Been eyeing this release for a while now, with a nod to the excellent single “Nine Herbs Charm” featured a while back on the site. Now, in the wake of the holidays, the knotted folk of Parker’s sets itself well into the bleak, grey-skied landscapes of early winter. With a post-Fairport aura, Parker picks his way through songs that hang heavy with visions of Jansch and Rebourn, though it’s not shy of Buckley’s buttoned up years or Pentangle’s charms either. Built on rippling guitars and stately bass, the album lays a proper Anglophile folk foundation for Parker’s tales of woe and weary travels — the album is after all named for an annual celebration of English wheat harvest. His previous LP seemed a bit more reserved offering, but here Parker opens up to fuller forms in his songs — mournful fiddle, thick swathes of Rhodes, and dawn streaks of flute.
Much like Jake Xerxes Fussell, who’s excavating of and refurbishing of antiquated folk has found him making the old feel fresh, Parker’s tales of oxen, harvests, and constables dust off a bit of their traditional-leaning cobwebs in his hands. The songs may be sparse, but Parker turns echoed pleas for rain and reason into hauntingly tender moments. Just as the revival of long lost folk felt vital to a ‘60s contextualizing of psychedelic impulses, Parker makes the drenched emotions pin tight to a more modern era of upheaval. Though, even without trying to cast this one into new brass, the album is an ace exploration of the shape of melancholy.
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