Bridie Jackson & The Arbour
Album: Scarecrow
Label: Debt
Tracks: 2

I’ve only just latched onto this band, whose debut full-length CD Bitter Lullabies contains some of the most original and stimulating music I’ve heard for a long while. That particular release will be granted an overdue review on these pages very shortly, but for the immediate moment we’ve a brand new disc for consideration. This single marks the Newcastle-based four-piece’s debut recording for the Debt Records label, and contains one new composition (Scarecrow) and one reworking (of album track All You Love Is All You Are).

Together this pair of tracks form a suitably representative showcase for the band’s sound and general approach, delivering a powerful yet ethereal soundscape that revolves around Bridie’s captivating singing voice and darkly beautiful string-centred arrangements. I might say that the aforementioned Bitter Lullabies is even more persuasive in terms of startling originality of expression and structure, but Scarecrow on its own is worth the price of admission, with its acute sense of dramatic momentum taking us on a journey from a resigned Lal Waterson-like jazz-inflected opening to a boldly declamatory lament (Bridie taking on the role of the murdered bride with passion). Superb.

David Kidman

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