Hermitess – Celestial

This tainted world needs a little more magic in it, which is why I greatly appreciate experimental folk group, Hermitess, and their digital release series available via tarot cards.

Hermitess, a project lead by Jennifer Crighton of Devonian Gardens (which also features input from her partner and DG bandmate, Danny Vescarelli), is making all of their current and upcoming releases available on custom made tarot cards, each bearing designs by different collaborating artists.

The group’s first album, Hermitess, feels steeped in the traditions and sounds of stark British psych-folk music, while The Tower EP (released last June) leans more into Crighton’s astral pop sensibilities. Yet the group’s most recent record, Celestial, is a fine mix of these two extremes, featuring vocals and instrumentation that conjures the likes of Sharron Kraus and Bridget St. John, along with catchy hooks and melodies.

This blend is perhaps most successful on the enigmatic “Artificial Stars,” with its driving beat and addictive choruses bonding seamlessly with Crighton’s icy harp work and nearly Vashti Bunyan-esque singing.

A major highlight of this release is its spacey atmosphere, which is largely accomplished through a generous use of reverb, droning synth and in the case of the closing track, “Space Walk I: Spooky Action at a Distance,” the most forlorn sounding pedal steel ever. This track is already very much a deep ambient soundscape, but the distant cries of the pedal steel guitar help push it firmly into cosmic folk territory. If you’ve been digging Suss, Barry Walker Jr. and the Gunn-Truscinski Duo this year, then you have to check out this track.

If you’re like me and you love folk music that feels almost ancient and pagan-like in nature, as well as mystical space rock, then this record’s for you.

Check it out right here.

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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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