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Gathering Tides Gathering Tides
Album: Floodgate
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 5
Website: http://www.gatheringtides.com

Gathering Tides are classically trained musicians Seth Bye who produces this EP (I think), Dan Cippico, Sam Baldwin, and Alexander Henshaw. It really shows. Quality shines throughout this 20 minutes of Folk Fusion - jazz, blues, hints of progressive rock and occasional reggae - and the result is an EP very much deserving of its title.

"Ambient Temperatures" This first instrumental track reminds me of the day I first heard an instrumental by Scottish band Wolfestone back in the day. Seth Bye's fiddle drives the track along with occasional bass breaks into a more progressive rock sound. It's intriguing, it's vibrant, and it's fresh.

The band's rendition of the Appalachian song "Shady Grove" retains enough of a traditional element to hold its own as a folk song, building from mid track with dual vocals into a folk rock crescendo, and a short but effective outro to highlight the group's classical training. The curiously titled "The Curtain Sniffer" is another instrumental track, leaning more to progressive rock than folk, and where the skills of Sam Baldwin and Alexander Henshaw appear more prominent, in a coming together of the energy akin to Blackbeard's Tea Party and a more avant garde sound that those of you who are old enough might have found on a High Tide album.

"Rise_Fall" is where Cippico's electronic influences and interest come to the fore. It slows the pace in almost HipHop style, and if there is a highlight for me in this EP, this is it. Cleverly, despite the use of synthesisers this still works well as a folk song. Give this one time. It has a wonderful build to it. With another curious title, "Larry, Get Out The Bin", the EP moves back into traditional folk mood with another track I would challenge anyone not to tap their feet to. Yet this also has echoes of '70s jazz blues not dissimilar to what someone like Steve Khan might have produced in his pomp.

The success of Floodgate is that it takes strands from multiple music genres and weaves them together into a piece of work that is also undeniably folk. It is incredibly interesting to listen to, and a part of me still wonders how on earth they packed so much into just five songs. In the absence of sleeve notes it is a little difficult to offer a more detailed review of specific influences behind each song, but suffice to say it all works, and you are left wanting more.

John Reed