Artist: The Midnight Pine
Album: The Midnight Pine
Label: The Redwoods Music
Release Date: 09/23/2016
Often described as “ethereal,” the haunted folk musings of the Midnight Pine aren’t as delicate as that word would suggest. Though occasionally desolate and rustic, the immersive, slow-burning offerings from this self-titled album, the follow-up to 2014’s Buried, are usually rich and full, methodically articulated through traditional instrumentation and twilight harmonies in murky, sleepy rivers of Americana.
Soulful horns practically ooze through a dark “Thunder and Lightning” and “Fast Fever,” as they tread on R&B territory, without straying too far from the boat. Dark, mesmerizing eddies like “Mockingbird” and a smoky, noir-like “Vice” give rise to the opinion that the Midnight Pine are restless and uncomfortable with being pegged as merely a folk entity. The drama and expansiveness of “Hope it Matters” and the sweeping closer “Bends and Bows” tantalizingly reach for the euphoric heights of Southern-rock anthems, like those of Drive-By Truckers, before falling back to earth in beautiful struggles. And while tracks like “Broken Wing” and “Mother of Wolves” disappointingly take their own sweet time to develop with no particular destination in mind, there is natural wonder and melodic light breaking through the gloom in a gorgeously rendered “Fortress.”
Take heed of Shelbi Bennett’s dusky, well-rounded vocals, for she is a singer of almost biblical power and poignancy, while possessing a sultry quality that could lead the most upstanding, church-going pillar of the community into temptation.