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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Record Review – Oddfellows Casino

The Raven's Empire
Nightjar Records
Brighton's Oddfellow's Casino sit to the left of contemporary folktronica acts from the obscure (Dollboy) to the famous (Zero 7). Raven's Empire is a thoroughly haunting affair, steeped in vintage synths, a 30 piece orchestra, dissonant horns and thoughtful vocals. Mystical song titles 'The Crows And The Rooks', 'The Day The Devil Slipped Away', 'Death Won't Have Me' evoke Hammer horror, The Wicker Man and American Gothic, but David Bramwell's quaint English vocalisation, pitched somewhere in the middle of Pink Floyd, Robert Wyatt, Talk Talk and Japan, have that ever so polite timbre which can subtly veer into the macabre.

One could accuse this of being deadly serious, but the combination of rootsy guitars,  bubbling synths, sparse, ornate productions and gentle, hushed vocals convey the otherworldly tones of an Neil Gaiman novel in which the new, the old, the peculiar and the supernatural tangentially exist together. Syd-like, utterly English and most impressive.
Jon 'Mojo' Mills

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