Been missing some ‘riders on the hill’ psych-folk in my life this year, and to fill that Pentangle/Trees/Espers shaped hole in my heart, this new release from The Order of The 12 has emerged from the mists. The band is driven by songwriter Richard Norris (The Grid/Beyond The Wizards Sleeve) and rounded out with the ethereal vocals of Rachel Thomas, Fumaca Preta and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Carter. Draped in a verdant, pastoral brand of folk that can’t help but funnel the thoughts through generations of flowing blouse folk — from the ’04 revival, through the ‘60s stalwarts channeling that lost sense of renaissance romanticism. For good measure the band recorded the record in an attic studio on the banks of Lewes Castle, keeping the cobblestones fresh in mind when setting the tone.
While that might make it sound like its a bit too wrapped in the past, like Espers the band makes this feel not too far removed from breezes blowing across the deciduous valleys of the Northeast, with a bitter fall wind on the air. Thomas’ vocals are draped in a cold sun serendipity that’s mournful, but not despondent. She nails the harrowing tension of dogs at the heels, letting them stand in for contemporary anxieties chasing at our thoughts night after night with no less urgency. The record is rife with strings that swell in dramatic sweeps, playing against the river run ripple of the guitars. As the album wears on some more modern pulses slip into the set, but the band shines when they let their inner Ren Faire goths out into the open. When the mood strikes, this can really sate that specific craving for an album that wraps itself in all of Anglican folk’s glory.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.