We first encountered The Silver Field supporting the excellent Bamboo at their “Daughters Of The Sky” album launch in October last year, and their two piece live performance absolutely captivated the heaving Servant Jazz Quarters. Having released Tim Burgess championed debut album “Rooms” in early 2019, we already had something to enjoy.
In the months that have seemingly whizzed by Coral Rose and friends are back with “Sing High! Sing Low!”. It must be said that the wondrous live show witnessed has been beautifully translated to record.
Using techniques familiar from the debut album, opener “Dry Light” begins with a lo-fi oscillating synth loop. It almost sounds like a record skipping (which could prove confusing if you’re listening on vinyl!). Scattered rumbling drums build alongside backing vocals and a simple bassline to hypnotic effect. Then, of course, there is Rose’s unique and haunting voice.
“I’ve been told not to hold onto the past” sings Rose as she then proceeds counters this with her need for comfort, expressed via various metaphors. The drums become ebb and flow, sometimes crashing, at others skittering, like waves crashing against rocks in an otherwise calm sea.
“Hearth Bite” follows with its wavering lofi drone loop, simple 3 note synth bassline which is effected in and out of clarity. It’s probably the highlight of the album. Melodically and lyrically it’s brilliant. The choruses, which discuss gender identity, are particularly phenomenal.
Rose’s sense of vocal melody feels timeless. “Song of Wandering” sounds like a traditional folk song vocal. It’s almost like a sea shanty but the backing is ethereal and shimmering. Loops and crashing, splashing drums whip up a transcendent psychedelic soup. The song simply builds to a clipping climax rather than moving into different sections. By this point we feel fully immersed in Rose’s new world.
Tape loops are not all Coral Rose has to offer though. “Day Flowers” stands alone as the closest thing to a “standard” song here. The instrumentation consists of simple strummed guitar, bass and drums, and a bassy cello pulse running throughout. It’s a beautiful soft and airy arrangement. Lyrically it brings with it a second mention of mountains and the sea which underpins the feeling of escape into the wider world.
“The Valley Spirit” provides an instrumental interlude with eery Lynchian drones and delayed high pitched rattling percussive sounds.
“Salt Light” again provides another strong melody, as well as some gorgeous backing vocals. There are several subtle layers of minimal instrumentation that create a wonderful warmth.
“Out Back” again does away with the tape loops. This time they make way for deep string drones, subtle plucked guitar and bird samples. Just three harmonised sentences are uttered “when I wake, when I walk, I want to think of you”. A simple poignant statement of love. It’s a meandering piece that brings with it a real sense of calm and ease.
The lyrics are again kept simple on “Talk To Me”. Melodically, the vocal almost recalls Dirty Projectors. The vocal line overlaps itself, delaying, subtly warping, while accompanied by just a solitary tape loop. A static clipping sound builds to add texture and the song gradually becomes more and more washed out. Time almost stands still over the 8 minutes it amasses.
Closer “The Fire Dream” finds hope and freedom in a moment of loss and devastation. A tale of a house burning down. The final lines feel prescient at a time when history is being rightly reassessed, controversial statues are being taken down, there is a sense that people who previously weren’t given a voice are beginning to be heard and there is the sense that new bonds are being formed.
“There is no weight of history. there is no bruise of longing, there is only here, there is only now. All i can do is keep walking. All you can do is keep walking. All we can do is keep walking”
Sing High! Sing Low! seems much more stripped down and subtle than last years’ debut, yet somehow it’s much more powerful. It retains the sense of improvisation yet also feels more considered and structured. This is apparent in both the songs themselves and the way they are placed together. An album of great simplicity but also huge in texture and depth.
You may enjoy this if you like: Bamboo, Rozi Plain, Rubie, Dirty Projectors, Múm
Sing High! Sing Low! is out now via Crossness Records