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Song of the Pearl

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Album Review

A few months after releasing a split with Pontiak, Arbouretum returned, true to form, with Song of the Pearl. At first glance, it appears that very little has changed over the two years since Rites of Uncovering. Baltimore's Dave Heumann still pumps out elemental, minor chord Americana in the key of Will Oldham or Bill Callahan, and filters it through loud, doomy amps to make moody jams that could be mistaken for a beefed up Gordon Lightfoot, or Neil Young & Crazy Horse rocking through Blue Cheer's gear. It's a weird blend of power-driven grunge and melancholy: a fever dream that sweats out weary sadcore as it primitively pounds out acid rock drudge. If anything has changed since the last full-length, Heumann's become slightly more restrained. The songs never break the six-and-a-half-minute mark, even when they feature longwinded guitar solos. "Infinite Corridors," the stoner rock jam of the album, is the most guilty of sprawling aimlessly, but never loses focus in its slow build of a pentatonic blues groove into an fuzzy assault. In another visceral moment, "Another Hiding Place" paints the mood for a dusty soundtrack made for driving through the desert plains, with the line, "Daylight blazes, there's a carcass on the side of the road" before the tranquil, shimmering vibe of "Down by the Fall Line" darkens the pink sunset.


Formed: 2002 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Dave Heumann, a musician with something of a rustic, poetic bent who backed up musicians like Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Cass McCombs, started Arbouretum in the early 2000s. The band was comprised of Heumann's friend Walker David Teret on guitar, ex-Lungfish member Mitchell Feldstein on drums, and Corey Allender on bass. Arbouretum's debut, Long Live the Well-Doer, was released in 2004, and their second album, Rites of Uncovering, came out three years later. The latter was recorded in part by Paul...
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Song of the Pearl, Arbouretum
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