It was Spring, around the end of last April, beginning of May, that a mysterious collective named A Blaze Of Feather unexpectedly appeared. They brought to our ears a first single, ‘Carousel’, as part of a 6-track extended play, ‘EP 1’, that immediately set the expectations to high levels about this yet unknown act. A few weeks later, the halo of mystery around this ambitious project is thinner, and A Blaze Of Feather have released their first album, self-titled, out through Ben Howard‘s Hell Up Records. Correct, Devon’s talented guitarist and songwriter is one of the members of the project that also includes Nat Watson, Rich Thomas, India Bourne, Mickey Smith and ex Hiss Golden Messenger drummer, Kyle Keegan.
The emotive tone of the record is immediately set by the opener, ‘Valkyrie’, which showcases, overall, an hypnotic guitar riff. The soundscape reminds me of desolate lands, where a silent nature merges with delicate vocals and arrangements that draw from classic folk and post-rock influences. The enigmatic personality of the band emerges in an even clearer way whilst the record moves towards less melancholic atmospheres (‘Six Years’) and a dimension that draws comparisons to Ben Howard’s latest production (‘Great Heights’, ‘Grace’).
The album was recorded in a wintery Cornwall, as explained by A Blaze Of Feather’s Mickey Smith. “The songs that form this self-titled debut LP were sparked amongst the Winter storms that haunt the west coasts of Ireland and Cornwall. – he stated – Touring and living on the road away from family can take their toll and it’s only after you return you really know the cost. Each one of us walks our own thread of sanity. For myself, the strange hope of fatherhood flickers amongst the shadows of grief and memories of loved ones lost. I count myself lucky to play in a band that offers sanctuary on many levels and shape shifts so instinctively together. It’s a rare understanding to share and something we don’t take for granted.”
A Blaze Of Feather’s music is simple, honest and direct. It’s a pure expression of melody and deep lyricism. A few chapters stand out: ‘We Were Here’ and ‘Dust In The Wind’ are probably the most impactful tracks within a journey that, overall, is an exquisite portrait of six musicians who are together for that inner pleasure to make music as a form of art. Music that is not dictated by commercial strategies or a need to create something catchy at any cost.
It’s all about emotions, and this makes A Blaze Of Feather the ideal summer act to watch at dusk at a festival, or a perfect soundtrack for summer rainy days. Should you need some time off to gather your thoughts, this album is just what you need.
Hell Up Records | 2017
Tracklist & Stream