Old Saw

The last outing from Old Saw proved a captivating dive into the balance between ambient country and noise-folk. The Northeast collective scrapes the sinews that connect Black Twig Pickers, Joseph Allred, SUSS, Sun City Girls and the kind of archeological folk and aural deconstruction that Daniel Bachman’s been brewing lately. The new album continues to follow the thread they’d begun on Country Tropics and kept up through last year. Caustic and, at time cacophonous, Dissection Maps plucks, saws, and seethes. It conjures the ghosts under the floorboards of folk — the kind of sounds that are visceral exhumations of our collective sorrows. There’s catharsis in Old Saw’s work, as if the hinges and the hammers that wrought them both need a good cry to shake the weight of history and its hunger.

The record doesn’t tread lightly in its approach to folk. These are songs, not to soothe or bring community together, but more to ward off the world like a sigil over the door. The dark magic here feels akin to the folk horror cinema that’s been brewing since the ‘70s, ferreting out the fevers, the black bile, the malignant marrow and the devils that came through in their wake. More than some of their other works. Dissection Maps is a malevolent work, a record that’s wrapped in an aura of night and not one I’d care to inhabit alone and unprepared. They don’t keep it all so dour, there’s a break in the clouds on “Revival Hearing,” but even that song’s sprightliness is corroded at the edges and hinting at rot. Like Bachman, the band have found another side to folklore, one that doesn’t just display the museum trinkets of that tug at nostalgia, but the underside of our history that’s causes a bit more churn in the stomach.

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