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Dan Arborise - Of Tide & Trail

Dan Arborise, Of Tide & Trail

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THERE’S no denying the brilliance of Dan Arborise’s acoustic guitar playing throughout his new album, Of Tide & Trail. But the album doesn’t always add up to a satisfying whole.

Arborise was inspired to write the songs while working on a farm in North Devon in exchange for board and lodgings, as he became moved by the sweeping vistas, steep valleys, crumbling houses and expansive seascapes.

“There is something meditative about living on the coast, about the sea and the skies and the countryside around it,” he explains. “Being on a natural boundary between fundamental elements, earth and water, where one world ends another begins.

“It inspired me into writing longer, increasingly involved songs, and thinking more about textural qualities of sound.”

And therein, maybe, lies the problem. Where some of the more popular folk songwriters of the moment, such as Newtown Faulkner, can tailor their songs to radio-friendly format, Arborise likes to indulge himself.

It’s not unusual for songs to last over six minutes, while some even stretch to nine. They require patience, which the listener might not always be willing to supply, especially since Arborise’s husky vocals don’t always match the quality of his guitar-playing.

That said, if you’re feeling in a mellow mood and have a good hour to spare just kicking back and immersing yourself into Arborise’s songwriting, there could still be plenty to take away from it.

Cries, for instance, should resonate with any prospective or proud father, even though it struggles to justify its nine minute length, while his ode to a growing daughter, My Child, is another nicely composed offering.

Album opener Another Side Of The Sky contains an upbeat, shorter style that isn’t readily found elsewhere as well, while the meaning of life gives rise to some interesting observations during She Told Me How To Love Her.

Of Tide & Trail is therefore a curious listen. It has some fine moments, but struggles to hold you completely in its grasp.

Download picks: Another Side Of The Sky, Cries, She Told Me How To Love Her, My Child

Track listing:

  1. Another Side of The Sky
  2. You’ll All Get What’s Coming To You
  3. She Told Me How To Love Her
  4. I Live
  5. Cries
  6. My Dear
  7. My Child
  8. Under Your Spell
  9. Days Even Years
  10. Feet In The Sea, Head In The Stars