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The Rye Bears a Poison

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Album Review

On their first full-length album, Scotland's Appendix Out showcases their earnest and direct style of folk-pop music. The sounds on The Rye Bears a Poison are startlingly similar to Will Oldham's Palace projects, with the ten songs favoring simple, acoustic instruments to go with gentle, strained vocals by Ali Roberts. Violins, cello, mandolin, keyboards, autoharp, samples, and minimal drumming also creep in, creating an off-kilter and reflective mood to the disc. The instruments come together to create a rich, folky orchestration throughout. "Frozen Blight" is the closest thing to a title track, with Roberts' plaintive voice crooning "the rye bears a poison." Eva Peck takes the vocal lead on "Lassie, Lie Near Me," possibly the most upbeat track on the disc, with its steady drumming, delicate piano, and beat-driven samples. The disc ends perfectly with the slow-motion serenade "Autumn." What emerges from the album's ten songs is a new breed of Scottish folk music, taking inspiration from various folk and lo-fi influences. The album was recorded in Glasgow January 1997 and released on Chicago's Drag City Records later that year.


Formed: Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Scottish rural folk combo Appendix Out was formed in mid-1994 by singer/guitarist Ali Roberts and bassist/violinist Dave E. While at a Palace Brothers concert the following year, Roberts passed Will Oldham an Appendix Out demo cassette, and in early 1996 Oldham issued the single "Ice Age" on his Palace label; weeks later the group -- now additionally including cellist Louise D. and drummer Eva Peck -- also contributed material to the Up Records 4x4 compilation. "Well-Lit Tonight," one half of a Creeping...
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The Rye Bears a Poison, Appendix Out
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