The North Sea
Verdict = Perfectly Baked Free Folk
You have to expect that the first few months of any given year is going to be catch up time for any music missed the previous year. It seems that these early months have been particularly fruitful in this regard for me and The North Sea's Exquisite Idols is no exception. The most accessible album yet from free folk fixture Brad Rose is also his best. The songs are most often a convoluted mess of guitars buzzing, organs humming, bells tinkling and samples twittering and who knows what else doing any and everything, but this apparent confusion is always held together by some type supernatural glue that carries the happy chaos into some gorgeous territory. The album also contains a type of eastern twang that has become familiar in recordings from similar artists like Six Organs of Admittance or Sir Richard Bishop. Underneath the brush of soft noise, Rose's vocals emerge like an echo carried by the wind. Never fully connecting but always present, the heartfelt tone of the vocals feels hazy and dreamlike. The North Sea does a perfect job of varying between the more free free folk tracks and the more anchored songs creating a dynamic, full listening experience on Exquisite Idols. It's a year old now but just as vibrant and worthwhile as ever.
The North Sea on Myspace