The Last Inklings – The Impossible Wild: Album Review

The debut album from The Last Inklings. An exercise in cross pollination of the finest kind.

the last inklings

Release Date: 1st October 2021

Label: Gillywisky Records

Format: digital / CD

It may be their debut album but the duo of Leonardo MacKenzie and David Hoyland have plenty of musical clout behind them. Their name might owe a debt to the mid-20th-century literary group which included Tolkien and CS Lewis, yet their inspiration is drawn from wider sources that include an eclectic musical palette. Both are experienced and accomplished multi-instrumentalists with a solid folk background in various outfits including Kaida and with have their own Alchemy EP under their belts.

The pair focus on cello, mandolin and vocal harmonies with David possibly offering the widest range in his musical armoury, shifting from percussion to guitar and probably being one of those (annoying?) people who seems to be able to just look at an instrument and be able to play it.

And working from the outside in, The Impossible Wild feels like slowly unwrapping what you hope will be the birthday/Christmas present you’re hoping for. The package is visually stunning, encouraging the age-old but long-forgotten art of getting lost in in the images to that reveal a greater understanding of the musical contents. The videos for the singles which have teased the album aren’t too shabby either, picking up on the strength of the visual themes and rounding off the whole package.

A mere glance at the sleeve confirms that The Impossible Wild is a record that explores the role of nature, myth and superstition in the modern world. Fay Hield did similar with Wrackline. A fascinating subject that crops up not just in the Folk world but across musical genres. And while The Last Inklings may be just a party for two, the can’t be accused of lacking ambition in their arrangements.

Take apart the music, analyse the depth of the lyrics, nod sagely at the sentiment and the eloquence of the delivery. You can do all that or simply enjoy the sheer quality of the music. From the bright and the sprightly vibe that you’ll encounter in Hunter’s Moon to gentle musical box cascades of notes that ripple like a fresh stream and make you feel you could listen to the beginning of Sleeping Giant all day. The latter effect is repeated in the brief Call To Adventure vignette which simply has to be repeated.

Chamber and classical influences come from the string presence and the cheeky punctutaions with some perky traditional folk instruments. The percussion in particular be it via the usual methods or the plucked strings, adds an earthy and woody element and visions of a pastoral England. One on which the duo do some serious musing on Dear Future – “This future isn’t what it used to be” – before lulling us out on Vespers.

With twelve pieces crammed into just over forty minutes, The Impossible Wild is a treasury full of riches. An album that’s going to live up to the billing from a duo whose sound is described as unique. Certainly The impossible Wild is a classy and classic piece of work. Creeping unsuspecting, nudging the boundaries and delivering rewards in clusters of immaculately conceived and produced music.

Here’s the video for Sleeping Giant:

The Last Inklings online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube / Bandcamp

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