Boomkat Product Review:
Esmerine is Godspeed Black You Emperor's Bruce Cawdron and A Silver Mount Zion's Beckie Foon indulging their sweetest, most melodic impulses, but their brand of stirring neo-classical Americana is here burdened with a palpable sadness - La Lechuza is a tribute to the group's friend Lhasa de Sela, who died last year aged just 37. Barr and Cawdron's marimba lines invariably occupy centre-stage, the pulsating minimalism of opener 'A Dog River' prompting obvious comparisons with Steve Reich and Tortoise's Reich-indebted TNT. Elsewhere the folksy, aching cadences of Beckie Foon's cello put us in mind of Bruce Langhorne's Hired Hand soundtrack or Tindersticks' recently compiled scores for Claire Denis, the band achieving a sound as emotionally transcendent as it is downhome and salt-of-the-earth. The almost unbearably poignant 'Snow Day For Lhasa' is graced by Patrick Watson's Antony-esque falsetto, but Esmerine's elegies do permit some playfulness and optimism - as on the jaunty near-psychedelia of 'Trampolin' and the other vocal-led number, 'Last Waltz'. It might sound like a cliche to say it, but over its duration this album becomes less a ruing of death and more a celebration of life. It's just incredibly precious, human, meticulously composed and performed music - highly recommended.