Published on Thursday, 21 July 2016 21:08
Band: Autumn's Grey Solace
Album title: Windumæra
Release date: 11 June 2016
The beautiful siren Erin Welton and multiinstrumentalist Scott Ferrell, united under the name Autumn's Grey Solace, are back with a new album. Windumæra features eight new tracks and is already the ninth album for this North American duet who started their career in 2000. Already with their debut, Within The Depths Of A Darkened Forest, and then even more with the next couple of albums, especially with masterpieces like Ablaze and Riverine, Autumn's Grey Solace became one of the most influential acts inside this rather narrow and somehow mysterious genre called ethereal wave. Erin with her beautiful tender coloratura soprano voice style is one of a kind singer, as well Scott nicely manipulates the guitar and other instruments to create some kind of a magical fantasy sonic experience.
To tell the truth, a follow up to their in 2014 released Monajjfyllen, is one of the most difficult albums from this duo to get it through. The dream pop element that was so very present on Ablaze for example is present just in fragments, also those meditative dense atmospheres and catchy prolific passages are not here as we were used to hear from them. Rather than that on Windumæra there's much more emphasis on drifting and sparkling guitar sound, in a way the atmospheric guitar lines are a bit similar to early The Cure, Cocteau Twins and as well early Dead Can Dance. Most of the songs on this album are still a bit less atmospheric than on their previous works, but are a bit darker and psychedelic, I can say even dramatic, there's much more connection with retro wave and dark wave than ever before, some passages are smelling almost post-punkish to say at least. So, the minus is that the shoegaze elements are rather left behind or pushed in the backwards, the same it's with their trademark romantic pop side, but thankfully not entirely and that's perfectly heard on one of the albums highlight "Sláhhyll".
Erin is a vocal virtuoso and thanks to her amazing singing tecnique songs and words behind them get almost an otherwordly dimension. Her voice is very emotive, it brings calmness and pushes you in a meditative state of mind while nicely glazing through these soundscapes. All of the songs are pouring softly from one to another, but the listener must be in a certain state of mind to properly absorb what this album offers, otherwise you can get bored because the whole thing, while still being pretty airy, is a bit too much linear, minimalistic, sometimes almost too gentle and without necessary more evident ups and downs that would make it evem more multidimensional, perhaps also more luminous.
Windumæra is a soothing listening experience, pretty chilly, it might let your imagination flow, it opens doors into magical world. Just listen to mesmerizing last two songs to get the point, the cinematic romantic "Hærfestwæta" and rather more bouyant closing one "Ymbe". I can't tell you a lot about the lyrics as they are pretty much unintelligible, but judging from the titles I think that are about ethereal stuff, nature and talking about a fantasy world. Windumæra holds inside some kind of sadness, melancholy, yet it brings stillness, but only if you fully devote yourself as it's a very demanding listening experience. I still prefer their earlier works, but it's obvious that Autumn's Grey Solace show some kind of progression with every consequent release by shifting more and more into organic sound of instruments. Windumæra is an enjoyable album, it's mystical, but not for everybody.
Review written by: T.V.