Album Review

iamthemorning – Counting The Ghosts: EP Review

iamthemorning set up their own EP release with two new songs and a couple of seasonal ventures.

Release date: 4th December 2020

Label: Bandcamp

Format: CD / DL

It’s an EP that’s self-released by the band to help fund the recording of their new album. Consisting of 4 tracks, the usual ethereal and fragile iamthemorning sound gets a polish as they challenge their sombre/macabre Chamber Prog tag with some emotive and distinctive musicianship.

The EP features 2 new original songs: Cradle Song which you can listen to below and the title track. Singer Marjanan Semkina has talked of Cradle Song appearing from nowhere although regular jaunts past William Blake’s grave in Bunhill Burial Grounds made a significant impact. “I was reading a lot of his works lately so I think this is why I stylised it after him without even thinking and named it appropriately,” she explains.

It’s full of beautiful washes as Gleb Kolyadin’s piano cascades make a subtle inroad. The keyboard maestro holds himself in check and allows the atmosphere to swirl and envelop in a lilting lullaby. Despite the “dreadful things don’t make me weep” line, the trademark iamthemorning darker side is also put on pause with their more morbid offerings toned down, yet makes a mark on the title track. From the opening passage, there’s a hint of an unsettling tone that runs through the track accompanied by some twisting bass notes. Both new pieces are a perfect match to what follows, giving the EP a haunting appeal.

The other tracks on the EP see iamthemorning adding their own twist to two traditional festive songs: the 12th-century hymn Veni Veni Emmanuel and the more modern piece I Wonder As I Wander. The latter was thought to be collected by John Jacob Niles in 1933 from a young traveling evangelist Annie Morgan and is given an iamthemorning tweak.

Veni Veni Emmanuel, which sees Marjana singing in Latin, has a spacious resonance yet the vocal remains an intimate presence. Shorn of any major musical accompaniment, anyone describing this as angelic wouldn’t be far wrong. A similar treatment is applied to I Wonder As I Wander and the thought occurs that Gleb Kolyadin and Marjana Semkina are made for doing wintery seasonal songs. I could certainly manage an iamthemorning Christmas record given this snippet is absolutely exquisite with a fragility and delicacy – often highly reminiscent of Kate Bush in the phrasing or pitching.

Fifteen minutes hit the quality over quantity marks and keeps the duo fresh in our thoughts in a marketplace where everyone is vying for attention and pushing their product. Counting The Ghosts could be the surprise seasonal hit.

Listen to Cradle Song here:

iamthemorning online: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

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