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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.

Customer Reviews


Arbouretum have put out another great record. This one skips a bit of the guitar heroics of "Rites of Uncovering" (songs like the thrilling "The Rise," for example) for more polished songcraft. It's certainly a different record, but a great one nonetheless. Reminiscent of times at Lungfish - interesting considering Lungfish's Mitchell Feldstein drummed on the previous record but not on "Song of The Pearl."

Great Album

Two beautiful, haunting songs: Another Hiding Place, and Song of the Pearl. This band is most like The Moody Blues (though not as confessional) and The Black Angels. At times the singer sounds a lot like Gordon Lightfoot: Song of the Pearl is like If You Could Read My Mind. Lots of great electric guitar: both power chords and intricate figures, often psychedelic; strong primal drumming; a great sounding rhythm bass; and plaintive lyrics on hooks that stick in your head. The whole album is solid, but if you don't like Another Hiding Place and False Spring, you won't like the rest of it. Another Hiding Place has a little of that Neil Young Heart of Gold bounce, otherwise I don't hear Neil Young/Crazy Horse anywhere. Maybe the vocal on Tomorrow Is a Long Time? Also, I don't hear Bill Callahan in there.


I listened to the first track and thought maybe it was just one soft track... but NO. This music will bore you to death. The production is bad. The drum is retarted and the guys singing is way out of key. Don't buy it.


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...
Full Bio
Song of the Pearl, Arbouretum
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Customer Ratings