Review Summary: Haunting violin + voices/Lo-Fi fiddle project the past.
Having supposedly recorded thirteen albums in the past five years, singer + artist Matt Welsh, and self-proclaimed multi-instrumentalist Stephen Herbert are able to seamlessly intertwine pictures of the bubbling sea, visions of the countryside and an unexpected sense of turbulence. The musical duo hails from Bristol, UK, and was known for distributing free copies of their records on the street. The long and equally-as-pretentious album title Where Has It Gone, All The Beautiful Music Of Our Grandparents? It Died With Them, That’s Where It Went…
almost negates any need for an album review whatsoever.
The pool of instruments Misophone indulge themselves in is as deep as their album title is long--xylophone, fiddle, folksy guitar tones, horse-drawn percussion, accordion et al. are carefully composed to recreate the atmosphere that was undoubtedly thicker when our grandparents roamed the Earth. There is a serious problem with the logic behind the album’s title. Misophone proved that they can revive the music of the ‘good ol’ days.’ They haven’t just revived it, they’ve injected it with their own brand of lo-fi authenticity. The production scrapes by in order to give provenance to songs like “It’s Good To Be Alive” and “You Can’t Break A Broken Heart.” But this is a false provenance. Tricky bastards.
Misophone has successfully harnessed the power of the whimsical. They will make you swoon with “Song Thrush” and then Russian Folk dance with “Turning Hay in the Fields.” Possessing a knack to throttle, Misophone has been cited for sounding a bit like Beirut--another Nordic/Eastern-European-esqe indie band.
Accusations aside, Misophone form splendid melodies and sorrowful thoroughfares. Attuned to their own sound, Misophone throws a curve ball in the form of “The Sea Has Spoken.” Beginning with haunting violin, it suddenly turns vitriolic, flattens out into a steady beat and is then accompanied by weaving fiddle and finally finds its middle ground in tempo as the band quietly sings of ships crashing ashore and trees growing and ending with their signature violin. Where Has It Gone…
is fortified with all the necessary ingredients to form an eventful yet easily-forgettable series of events. One or two tracks will stay with you but don’t expect to be completely blown away by this. The beauty of this record is that it compliments any mood you might find yourself in--any pickle you may be in. This is something you take with you to the beach and plug into your ears. It’s for when nothing matters and for when everything matters.