Snows Of Yesteryear – Snows Of Yesteryear: Album Review

Snows Of Yesteryear release their much-anticipated debut album, with an exciting contemporary take on the creative potential of folk music.

Release date:  Available now 

Label: Self–released 

Format:  streaming on all major platforms

Having very positively reviewed Glasgow based Snows Of Yesteryear’s excellent single, Something Shatters, expectations of their self-titled debut album were high for this reviewer. Suffice to say this album does not disappoint. Snows Of Yesteryear have put together ten tracks that excitingly meld folk with a range of other musical genres, creating a compelling and forward-looking musical vision. This is a very special album.

Snows Of Yesteryear feature the talents of musicians Kat Orr (vocals), David Mitchell (guitar) and violinist Yuuka Yamada-Garner. The album was recorded at the highly respected  Castlesound Studios in Edinburgh, with producer-engineer Mattie Foulds, who also plays drums on the album.

 Wait By The Shore opens the album. It is blessed with a captivating shuffle rhythm over which David Mitchell’s subtle melodic guitar figures and Yuuka Yamada-Garner’s searingly beautiful violin phrases weave their magic. They achieve effortlessly, the seemingly impossible feat, of sounding both traditional and edgily contemporary. Then there is Kat Orr’s vocal, which has the most wondrous range, from softly intoning the song’s poignant words of loss, to a soaring higher register harmony, soaked with emotion.

Counting Stars, the second song in on the album, has the most delicate of beginnings, with wistful acoustic guitar and accordion setting the mood. It is a song that seamlessly changes its rhythmic sound as the intensity of the vocal increases. Kat Orr conveys with the repeated refrain, “Now that you have gone, it’s not the same,” a sense of deep longing. As the refrain changes to “Counting stars,” the lead and harmony vocal converge and the song spirals and ascends. It is an extraordinarily impressive vocal performance. 

 Something Shatters, was previously a single, which I reviewed for At The Barrier, back in March of this year. It is a pop folk masterpiece that has elements of the beautifully complex musical arrangements that Brian Wilson created for the Beach Boys classic pieces, played within a striking folk framework, where the melody is intricately carried by Yuuka Yamada-Garner’s violin.

Love Is Like A Snare shows off the musical breadth of Snows Of Yesteryear, with its jazz influenced brushed rhythms, and syncopated vocal.  David Mitchell’s rhythm guitar is particularly distinctive here, setting the rhythmic character, and aura of floating, that permeates the song. Deer Across My Path in complete contrast is indie folk led by reverberating washes of lead electric guitar. These are musicians with an expansive musical vision that makes for a very engaging listening experience.

Last Thing You Remember is an exceptional ballad, that is very finely layered musically, with both classical and folk elements. It is perhaps the standout vocal performance on the album, where Kat Orr’s singing has a beautifully expressive tone, that expresses the evocative words in the most poetical of forms. A quite magnificent song, arrangement, and vocal performance.

 Rest and Be Thankful concludes the album in distinctive fashion. It is initially just the core trio and sounds as if it was recorded live in the studio, giving it a wonderfully intimate atmosphere. It feels like you are actually present with the musicians in the studio as they are recording the track. Breathtakingly, after a slight pause, it also has a striking instrumental coda, where piano joins the other instruments in the most charming and romantic of melodic themes. It is a hidden gem not to be missed.

This is an excellent and remarkable debut album, populated with songs and performances, that are both moving emotionally, and offer a dazzling range of musical themes to explore. Snows Of Yesteryear deserve your attention. Listen to this album and be taken on an exciting and utterly engaging musical journey.

You can view the official video for Wait By The Shore here:

For more information about Snows Of Yesteryear: Website / Twitter / Instagram

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