The Antwerp-based Kohlbacher Verhelst crafted a stirring folk record that is saturated with moorland mists, woodland shadows and Bert Jansch-ian fingerpicked ballads.
Kohlbacher Verhelst is a duo made up of Koen Kohlbacher and Peter Verhelst. Herhelst is an extremely versatile guitarist, and his vast virtuosity is on full display here. From the Spanish-flavored fluttering of “Shadow Changes Into Bone,” to the intricate Brit-folk melodies of songs like “Unlike The Moon,” Kohlbacher is a wizard of his chosen instrument.
The Belgium-based band conjures plenty of mood with just their fingerstyle work and robust vocals on their own, but they’re supported by several other sounds, such as stoic drones, a spirited chorus of backup singers and a groaning upright bass. Occasionally, some hand percussion and tablas enters the mix, and steers the atmosphere of the album into psychedelic folk territory in the vein of Pentangle and Donovan.
If the enigmatic folk blues of Jansch and the more lysergic leanings of Clive Palmer’s Original Band are your speed, then give Kohlbacher Verhelst’s new album a try.