Arborist – Home Burial

While the palette used by Northern Ireland act Arborist is Americana, their debut album offers so much more.

It’s not just there are other genres coming through, from piano balladry and traditional folk to rock and pop. There’s an atmosphere here that makes it sound so unlike any Americana music I’ve heard. It’s haunting, uplifting, sad and exciting all at the same time.


This is perhaps best shown on second track Dark Stream. This seems to combine all of the above genres, all held together by some lovely brass flourishes. Imagine a colliery band on tour of the Appalachians and I guess you are somewhere near this sound.

Andrew Bird’s recent releases are perhaps the nearest comparison to this debut by Arborist, which is led by songwriter Mark McCambridge. Both have gone back to America’s traditional folk for inspiration to create wholly modern releases, full of interesting instrumentation.

There’s even the Breeders’ Kim Deal here. She drops by for backing vocal duties on the band’s first single Twisted Arrow. Deal is both setting up Arborist well for publicity but crucially is here because she and McCambridge know her vocals fit perfectly.

Another point of reference is Leisure Society. This is particularly the case on the wistful pop of A Man of My Age, which is one of many standout tracks on a debut album of rare consistency and quality. I Heard Him Leaving also shows McCambridge to be a songwriter of some note. It’s lyrics and music oozes with the pain of a broken relationship and even hints at murder balladry through the brief glimpse of  a kitchen knife

McCambridge and co are a band not to be underestimated and certainly shouldn’t be dismissed as merely another Americana act.


By Joe Lepper

For more information about Arborist and Home Burial click here.


One Comment

  1. This album truly represents what good Americana folk can achieve. A yearning core with flourishes of hope that manage to break through these brass interludes you talk about. The driving rhythms and guitar work on Incalculable Things also shows a great deal of variety in this album – something very difficult to pull off in Americana folk. Kim Deal’s involvement with the album is a promising feature of an incredibly promising debut.

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