Arborist is an band fronted by Northern Irishman (Co Antrim) Mark McCambridge, a man who infuses power in his music via lyrical content and carefully layered instruments, rather than by volume. There are people who give such quiet music little attention. In our view, if that attitude causes people to ignore Arborist's debut LP Home Burial, those people are missing out on some great music. McCambridge's stories are lucid and flowing with excellent word-smithing. He has an eye for darkness, but the phrasing and arrangements don't allow the proceedings to become unbearably weighty. The overarching themes are home and death, with related topics such as ageing, sadness, funerals, and fractured families. McCambridge is equally comfortable composing in indie pop/alt folk and country veins, and the 11 tracks on Home Burial include both. One of the most engaging of the country-tinged offerings is "Twisted Arrow", which features Kim Deal.
While never loud, the album is rich in details, from various guitar styles to horns, piano, and strings. While my preference leans to the tunes with fewer country elements, especially "I Heard Him Leaving" and "A Man Of My Age", there is not a bad song in the set, and "Twisted Arrow" is a gem. Make note of it, Arborist is a budding star.
In addition to McCambridge, the players on the album are Richard Hill, James Heaney, Ben McAuley, Johnny Ashe, and Luke Bannon. Home Burial is out today via Kirkinrola Records in CD, LP and digital formats.