Dry and enigmatic, cerebral and tantric, Arbouretum's album, Long Live the Well-doer is a haunting accumulation of emotive songwriting and facile musicianship. Fronted by the singer/songwriter Dave Heumann (member of Anomoanon & other Ned Oldham projects, guitarist/vocalist of Translucents, and live performer with Bonnie Prince Billy (Will Oldham's latest) and drummer/vocalist David Bergander (lovelive, Cicaeda, and most recently Birdland), the album wanders through a plentitude of melodic transitions, quiet inversions of thoughtful lyricism, and vagrant modalities that transport the listener into a landscape of percolating quixotic sounds. At issue with time and honesty, convention and soul, the record evolves at the hidden seams, in the melancholy corners of doubt, despair and oddly atonal hope. The complimentary cast that joins Arbouretum to realize this album is quite accomplished, with the nationally known Ned Oldham adding both his guitar and backing vocals, as well as accomplished guitarist/engineer Rob Girardi (David Thomas & The Lost Planets, Homosexuals [in exile], Cicaeda, Caruso, Estrojet) infusing tonal guitar licks and high pitched accents that expertly compliment his masterful engineering work. Beth Varden and Mary Wachter add spectral backing vocals as a fertile brew of earthy harmonious glaze to complete this lush and accessible soundscape. Trembling with sensation, momentary observation, and scraps of fatalistic sorrow, Arbouretum's Long Live the Well-doer startles and stimulates the listener to share an artist's well crafted and vigorously executed sonic narrative.
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