Cellar Darling – This is the Sound
Released: 30th June 2017
Cellar Darling Line Up –
Anna Murphy // Vocals & Hurdy Gurdy
Ivo Henzi // Lead Guitar & Bass Guitar
Merlin Sutter // Drums
This is the Sound is the heavily anticipated debut album of the newly created Cellar Darling, one half (or maybe a fifth) of the folk death metal band Eluveitie. I say highly anticipated because it’s legitimately all I’ve seen in music news for the last two months, coupled with the extremely likeable trio that make up the band, so I was understandably pretty excited to wrap my head around this one.
Cellar Darling initially calls to mind the likes of Blondie, with a raft of other instruments layered on top. First track and popular single ‘Avalanche’ is the chief example to show off these aspects, as Anna Murphy’s ululating and soothing vocals mix with the soft sounds of folk instruments to enhance rather than impede the solid rock sound that is the bones of Cellar Darling. The first half of the album, where the singles ‘Black Moon’ and ‘Challenge’ originate, follow this same formula; repetitive (but no less impressive) vocals with a simple rock tone.
However, the second half of this album is more indicative of the imagination and dynamics that have driven the trio to success in their former lives. ‘The Hermit’ immediately pulls you out of the reverie you’re in, probably due to the change in tone, but it mixes the previous aspects the band was pushing and implements them… Better. Ivo Henzi’s riffs here are still relatively easy to follow but they just FEEL more connected to the music. This is the case with ‘Rebels’ and ‘Starcrusher’ as well, two of the best songs on the album. Dynamically, they’re simple but the music flows so much more satisfyingly from A to B, keeping you locked in for the ride the whole way.
I can’t fault artists trying to branch out and do something different; sometimes you just have to push your creativity in a different direction. If Pickles could play in Snakes N’ Barrels, Henzi can do it too. Being one amazing songwriter (see Forest of Fog) I know that I enjoy his music, as well as Murphy’s, but I think, maybe, this type of easy listening rock is not for me. I could listen to ‘Starcrusher’ all day, but the rest of the album just falls a little flat, as it never really reaches any sort of climax or destination and it all just feels a little too simple.
If you love the softer, folky, radioesque realm of music, this’ll play just fine. But if you like your music to sound like broken glass on spinal cords, you’re in the wrong place. Obviously. Get out of here.
Cellar Darling – This is the Sound tracklist –
- Black Moon
- Six Days
- The Hermit
- Fire, Wind & Earth
- Under the Oak Tree…
- … High Above These Crowns