Moundabout – Flowers Rot, Bring Me Stones: Album Review

Splendid burst of experimental and psychedelic folk from the Shine/Masterson combo that forms Moundabout.

Release Date: 29th July 2022

Label: Rocket Recordings

Format: digital (29th July) / vinyl (on/around 1st August)

Paddy Shine of Gnod and Phil Masterson of Damp Howl and Bisect combine on Moundabout – a new project that sees them crafting a mesmerising piece of work inspired by Ireland’s neolithic passage tombs. We’re told that listening to Flowers Rot, bring me Stones is like “entering a trance state while staring at one of the Knowth spiral carvings.” The fantastical markings on these monolithic and megalithic tablets which form part of the graves of Knowth at Brú na Bóinne provide inspiration for some wandering musical passages built around prehistoric drones and trance-like ambience and rhythms.

Flowers Rot… is ‘Folk’ taken to the max as we delve way back in time to early civilisations and a fascinating set where the Pagan and spiritual rubs shoulders with more contemporary and rustic Americana. As we move inwards from the coast, the brooding The Sea sets the scene with a distant starkness, before the repeated incantation of “How many bog bodies are lying in the ground?” accompanies the otherworldly and ominous ambience of Bog Bodies. It’s reminiscent of Nick Cave rumbling his way through some seriously dark murder ballad as the strange sound count begins to pile up.

The insistent, some might say relentless and slightly discordant, passage of Bring Me Stones is a simple aperitif to the natural conclusion of almost twelve minutes of Dick Dalys Dance. One that might at first leave listeners confused as they come to terms with music that explores the outer limits. We’re in the realms of X-rated computer game soundscapes, nervously exploring fearsome landscapes at the edge of insanity. Creak and squeaks; a knocking that comes from who knows where and the hum of something that could be human but most likely isn’t. Listen loud with the lights off. Headphones optional. Could be quite terrifying in the visions it could feasibly conjure. Very weird and very wonderful and in no way anything remotely danceable.

On the other side of the same coin, Flowers Rot… has a more accessible and recognisible aspect. One that’s hinted at in the early arrival of Waste Of Peace where the mystical stringed arrangement and drone recall Jimmy Page’s White Sumemr and the outlying sides of Led Zep III. Cold River explores more rustic country blues – kick off the shoes, loosen the dungarees and all deep deep into your best country twang – and the cameo of Lonely is straight from the rocking chair on the front porch of some outback log cabin.

Our current favourite phrase is ‘never less than interesting’. One that once again applies to Moundabout. One of those records that shows how the boundaries of what passes for Folk music are continuing to shift.

Moundabout online: Facebook / Bandcamp

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