Boomkat Product Review:
Beautifully meditative ensemble pieces from Matthew Sage & friends on a strong new album that sits somewhere between classic TNT-era Chicago stylings and the melodica-rich quietude of The Humble Bee / The Boats.
Alongside the Spinnaker Ensemble, whose 10-strong cast play everything from a harmonium to slide guitar, tenor saxophone, banjo and flute, Sage orchestrates quietly rich, pastoral reveries deployed at close quarters for a sort of porchside take on Virginia Asltey’s garden musings. Offset by field recordings of lakes, mountains and rivers in rural Nebraska, Texas and Michigan, it’s all inarguably evocative stuff, sunny but pocked with an early evening melancholy.
There was a time these sort of rich, homespun arrangements were everywhere - from Zach Condon and Heather Trost’s Emir Kusturica-influenced work on the first Beirut album to Iron & Wine’s sketched Americana - but Sage works to a more brittle template, managing to infuse his work with a level of authentic relatability that greatly enhances proceedings. If you’ve enjoyed the work of anyone from Craig Tattersall to Tortoise, this one comes highly recommended.