Megan Dixon Hood – East Of The Sun: Album Review

Promise fulfilled on the subtle and soaring debut album from Megan Dixon Hood.

Release Date: 22nd April 2023

Format: digital / CD / vinyl (online orders)

Back in 2021 Megan Dixon Hood was one of our ones to watch. Having done much of the groundwork with live shows and a series of EP s and single, here’s her debut album that we’re most keen to get our teeth into.

It won’t be a surprise to anyone who knows Megan that the new album is: “a story about the Earth and humans and how we interact with it and each other.” Themes that have populated and inspired previous releases. The promise of “ethereal songs and stories that seep from dark, enchanted woods” sells East Of The Sun very nicely. Great slogan, lovely warm design and branding; I’m sure Lord Sugar would agree, but how about the product, for where music is concerned, we’re all ‘product people’. We’ve heard those singles and EPs, but how does she fare with a full album of songs?

The series of forest pop soundscapes are heralded by the deep and sonorous introduction of the title piece. The haunting and mystical ambience established yields a collection of busy and atmospheric songs. Third Lung we know already; her heartfelt observations of environmental concerns issues which we labelled as Fleetwood Mac in overdrive and another single, The Wishing Tree now takes its place in an album sequence, and you can see how it fits as the combination of stark and climactic starts to emerge as a feature of East Of The Sun.

With the support of Liam Morgan on guitar and Jake Steel on bass, she creates a set packed with pulses and electronic decoration; The Great Unknown has what feels like a Native American tribal influence with its combination of dancing rhythms and dots and drips of notes scattered about. It explores a much bolder and more dramatic arrangement as a mini orchestra swells and combined voices dip a toe into a Celtic-y feel although that nod to indigenous people, earth dwellers, reappears, not surprisingly, in Warpaint that displays holds the spectre of a dancing lightness. Maybe a misty apparition of Enya drifting into the room? and while we’re on influences, no doubt that some of the Kate Bush shine has rubbed off as Megan closes her eyes and heads off into some intense and soaring vocalisms

The bluesy soul and ethnic grooves on Athena are a personal highlight, challenged by passages where delicacy is the order of the day, particularly on Hanged Man and Martyr. 24 Summers maintains its restraint, yet right at the heart is the passion and precision in delivering a vocal that skirts the ranges and allows these songs to breathe and fill the space. The album format provides the perfect pallette to stretch and explore up to and beyond the boundaries.

As Megan herself says, we might only be a minute part of the bigger picture, but we can make a positive difference in our own way. I guess East Of The Sun does that, but in a much bigger way than she could imagine.

For dates on the upcoming tour with Alesund check here.

Meanwhile, here’s the stirring Athena:

Megan Dixon Hood online: Website / Facebook / Bandcamp / Soundcloud / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

If you would like to keep up with At The Barrier, you can like us on Facebook here, follow us on Twitter here, and follow us on Instagram here. We really appreciate all your support.

Categories: Uncategorised

Tagged as: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.