Review / The Blood Choir: Dartmoor EP


By Lauren Paddison, First Year Music

Formed in Bristol in 2009, the Anglo-Danish duo began recording material for what would become the much coveted Dartmoor EP. It has now been released via their independent imprint Village Recordings.

The whole EP nods to 2018 album Houses of the Sun, an LP rooted even earlier in the lives of founding members Robin Maddicott and Joe Mountain, who had a turbulent five years leading up to their recent and long-awaited releases. It was originally recorded as far back as 2007, long before the band’s acclaimed 2012 debut No Windows to the Old World.

Title track 'Dartmoor’ features an elegant and meandering acoustic guitar riff under emotive lyrics and falsetto vocals. Guitarist Joe Mountain says that “‘Dartmoor’ is something we've always been really proud of, especially considering the circumstances under which it was made. We were using very limited home recording equipment at the time and only had one microphone between us. More importantly, we think the songs are really strong… It's kind of the missing link between our first/second albums and our upcoming third album This Bag which we're currently working on.”

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Second song, 'Script Girl''s piano start creates a bigger space in which the essence of what's being said evolves into a wonderment drenched in reverb. It is a distance admiration, an almost narrative, of all the injustice and hard luck of love lost.

‘Black Eyed Dog’ is pushed to another level. It is extreme in the highs and lows in the form of quiet, low pulsing, echoey vocal tangents again with guitar riffs completely drenched in space which soon erupts into quite a display of their heaviest sound.

Track number four brings back the tranquillity with which they started: ‘Lay With Me Awhile’ invites you to do just that. It is the type of song that requires no more than an open mind and tempered breathing. The descending chord progression lulls you until you arrive at that place just before you start dreaming. The lyrics are suggestive, but not exhaustive in their description, leaving you to bring and take what you want, or maybe what you need. It is completely relatable whilst also being strangely foreign, with its low wind instrument motif making an unprecedented appearance. An altogether fitting and palindromic end to the ventures of The Blood Choir who have only just begun to regather themselves.

Unearthed by Mountain and Maddicott in 2019, these time-capsule recordings have been revitalised for our listening. It seems they have reached the unchartered new realms they have been looking for.

Featured Image: The Blood Choir/ Village Recordings

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