Album number four from experimental electronic trio Snow Ghosts hits so many spots in its tales of folk songs never written.
Released: 24th February 2023
Format: CD / Digital / Vinyl
Snow Ghosts fourth LP is an album that is a collection of old folk songs that were never written. The Fell conjures images of shapeshifting animals and ancient tales experienced within a future landscape. Ancestral marks imprint the endless terrain of The Fell and the trio of Hannah Cartwright, Oli Knowles and Ross Tones ensure their songlines still sing.
The Fell opens with Given; a mysterious opening swirl. This gives way to Hearths and a particularly haunting marching drum tempo wrapped in droning instruments and Hannah Cartwright’s truly encapsulating vocals. Filaments has Cartwright once again lighting up the musical tapestry. ‘Tumbling, tumbling, how can a fall feel this long,’ comes the cry alongside music that evokes that feeling of falling. Pizzicato strings and distorted electronic beats bring a hypnotic element to proceedings.
Hearths and Filaments warm you up for the industrial sprawl of Curse. As the name suggests, this is not a pleasant listen. Mangled electronics buzz and blip around the undercurrent of the song. A gradually pulsing beat and harsh melodies coalesce to create a huge unease in the music. Music like this is to be lauded, as Snow Ghosts really take you on a trip. Shakespearean chants build with ‘A curse upon your house and all who lay there.’ being melted into the music.
Buried is a lighter turn musically after the onslaught of the opening salvo. However, the lyrics of the song are still suitably dark. The juxtaposition is lovely as quick bursts of strings rise and fall around a repetitive guitar melody. Hawthorn has Cartwright once again displaying her beautifully folksy voice dominating atop warm synths and bewitching rhythms.
Dark and droning strings befell Avine as the tale of the grotesque story unfolds. Musically and aesthetically, this is reminiscent of DARKHER – it is a monstrous piece of music that really sends a chill down the spine. Lyrically, you could see Nick Cave being behind this one.
More warm synths deck out Prophecies, however the warmth is punctuated by periodically stabbing synths. Again, the juxtaposition works an absolute treat. Echoing vocals ensure that you can never rest easy in consuming The Fell – there is so much going on. Home has a cinematic feel to it; it evokes modern horror classics such as Bobby Krlic’s Midsommar score, or Mark Corven’s The Lighthouse score.
Magpie has a more trad-folk feel, although the soundscape that accompanies it is once again shrill. Vixen is the longest track on the album and serves as the pre-cursor to album closer, Taken. Vixen swirls majestically, again in quite cinematic fashion as Taken twinkles into the twilight as the curtain comes down on a truly remarkable album.
Filmmakers, if you need a score for your new folk horror then look no further than Snow Ghosts. They have the acumen to evoke so many feelings in their music. There is beauty, gloom, despair, light, dark and desolation throughout. The Fell is an audible treat which will ensnare and mesmerise you with its grandeur.
Listen to the hypnotic Buried from Snow Ghosts below.