For reviews of "The trees, the sea in a lunar stream" click here
Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon "Through a Forest Only"
...The same goes for label mates Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon that blends a
forested folk atmosphere with a gauzy haze showing surprising traces
back to folk like Bark Psychosis and even Spaceman 3. This is ultimately a folk
album but there is something about Aaron Hurley's vocals and the
appealing slow motion progression that also sends nods in other directions.
Captivating and actually quite essential.
Irish duo Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon (nee Snowmachine) and Rusted Rail present the 4-song, 3-inch EP 'Through a Forest Only',
the sequel to their Deserted Village debut 'In a Light'. With connections to many a Deserted Village/Rusted Rail band - United Bible Studies, Agitated Radio Pilot, Cubs - and with contributions from members of many more, Phantom Dog remains a uniquely other band, playing dramatic yet conventional (in relation), highly-accessible indie rock music with just a gentle influence of their companions' folk designs. With muffled drums and squat, clean guitars the band plays "Slow to Appear on the Moon", a subdued rock peeled directly from Boy's Life's classic 'Departures and Landfalls' (minus the jangle),
with Akron/Family melodies solely and more solemnly interpreted by Codeine or Low. Sweeps of cello and vibraphone are added by Scott McLaughlin lending the warm lushness of a My Bloody Valentine while singer Aaron Hurley's falsetto alternately mopes and soars from swell to swell.
A crisper wooden percussion is brought to the fore of "To Be Kind" while comparisons to the Missouri band still stand, and now a little nearer Nick Drake as Hurley's lines come in lethargic, clipped moans. Spoken word fills out "When Nights are Warm", the windows open to capture an exchange between woman and man over the band's smeared rave-up. Not afraid to jam a little, the song boils slow with throbbing strings and rolling beats, vocals in chorus - it all swallowed in warm hearth of the vibraphone. The spooky balladry of final entry "A Web Emerging from Fog" could easily be among Johnny Greenwood's best unrealized compositions: a baroque piano, sleighbells, and heavy reverb leading a steady waltz into a melancholy refrain of acoustic guitar joined by cello and Hurley's imitation of the strings. High recommendation.
........Phantom of the Dog beneath the Moon is actually a duo for which the singer/songwriter part with guitar is by Aaron, and the electronic music
& textures by Scott. Both artists work well together, which is when the singer is well focused and uses his voice like a crying instrument,
with sweet pickings on guitar, like on "To be kind", the instrumentalist colours the rest perfectly too...... On the track, "a web emerging from fog", the textures fit perfectly with the
title : the piano theme sounds like ice, there are echoing amplified guitar tones, and all of this becomes pretty abstract, in a descriptive way,
a bit hazy foggy and misty.....
The new Rusted Rail release from these Yorkshire based Galway folks is
utterly lovely. Aaron Hurley's high, plaintive voice sits atop a
shimmering cloud of tremolo guitar, vibraphone and 'cello. Guests
include Anne Marie & Aaron from Mirakil Whip and Dave Colohan, and
there's a marvellous track with lots of spoken contributions... it
sounds good; it looks good... go on, get it!
Phantom Dog Beneath the Moon is the latest name for the Irish duo of
Aaron Hurley on vocals, guitars, piano and Scott McLaughlin, who more
than makes his mark on this twenty minute set with his work on bass,
and especially on cello and vibraphone. The EP is a 3 inch and comes
with a handmade sleeve. The sound is droning but reverent, but with the
addition of live drums and the cello/vibe colours, there is a warmth to
the record that is both comforting and slightly mystic. Not much else
to say here, but for the fact that ideas abounding in such a short
session are impressive, and makes one wish for more. This would be
perfect for meditation or running, provided you want to do it quick.
Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon were formerly known as Snowmachine and features Irish artists Aaron Hurley and Scott McLaughlin.
"Through a Forest Only" is their second release having already released a limited cd for the Deserted Village label.
This 20 minute mini-album features some really haunting sounds, like some lo-fi sounding Galaxie 500 with lots of weird droning