Arborist Share video for “Dark Stream” single directed by artist Peter Strain
Debut album Home Burial out now via Kirkinrola
Watch video for “Dark Stream” here
Full album stream via Gold Flake Paint
The stunning debut album, Home Burial, by Northern Ireland’s Arborist is out now digitally and on CD (and will be available on LP from Friday 18 November). Perfect for chilly Autumnal afternoons, the record is as warm as it is melancholy, showcasing Mark McCambridge’s deft songwriting and soulful vocals. The album features the singles “Twisted Arrow” (a duet with Kim Deal – Breeders/Pixies), “A Man of My Age“, “Dark Stream” and “I Heard Him Leaving“. The full album is streaming over at Gold Flake Paint, who wrote: “Led by McCambridge’s often soulful voice, the record is an intricate weaving of textural guitars, deft instrumental dashes of colour, and a knack for storytelling that beautifully lends itself to the considered musical backdrop that makes for such an inviting prospect, despite the weightiness of the reoccurring themes.”
Arborist also shared the video for lead single “Dark Stream“, which was video of the Week in The Irish Times. The video was directed by artist Peter Strain, who also designed the breathtaking album artwork.
Arborist’s Home Burial, has eleven songs dealing with death, ageing and family. Blending layered harmonies, atmospheric guitars, luscious strings with occasional brass flourishes, Arborist’s music is measured and mature whilst remaining starkly modern. Centred around McCambridge’s soaring vocal and unique lyrical style, the music speaks of bleak truths (Leonard Cohen, Bill Callahan, Jason Molina) delivered with an assured soulfulness (Sam Cooke, Al Green).
Since the release of their debut single “Twisted Arrow” in 2015, Arborist have become somewhat cult properties, thanks in no small part to Kim Deal (Pixies, The Breeders) contributing delicate harmonies to the song. A nonchalant and thoughtful piece of Americana, conceived in Belfast and Dayton Ohio, it premiered on Stereogum and The Line of Best Fit (who described it as; “soaked in country-western hallmarks and nuanced flecks of The Decemberists”), and had extensive play on BBC 6Music. It was also featured in The Guardian Guide’s tracks of the week who described it as; “…not unlike a vexed, downcast version of The Breeders’ country chug on ‘Drivin on 9’.”
Having previously worked as a songwriter around France, London and Dublin, Mark McCambridge formed Arborist in late 2014. He played his first show opening for James Yorkston and a solo tour of Ireland followed before impressive performances led to notable support slots alongside Low, Cat Power, Guy Garvey and Echo and The Bunnymen.
Early on McCambridge teamed up with drummer Ben McAuley, who ran Start Together Studios in Belfast (working with the likes of David Holmes, Sea Pinks, Pleasure Beach and Girls Names). They could begin recording immediately and their first release was a Christmas song, which came out at the end of that year. The aforementioned Kim Deal duet single “Twisted Arrow” followed in 2015 and the lush, emotive “A Man of My Age” was released in 2016 (with premieres on Clash Music – “Musically divine” – and Folk Radio UK, as well as regularly featuring on Gideon Coe’s BBC 6music show.)
The debut album Home Burial was again recorded in drummer Ben McAuley’s Start Together Studios. As he had a vested interest in the project, he had a strong sense of the songs and of how they should be recorded. Given the association, sessions were relaxed but focused and devoid of any time constraints. Occasional flourishes were added at home with the aid of Ben’s expertise. Fleshing out the band, McCambridge surrounded himself with a band of well-travelled musicians, including James Heaney on bass, Jonny Ashe on guitar and Richard Hill on piano/organ. Strings on “A Man of My Age” (and other tracks) were provided by Luke Bannon.
The album title focuses on two words; “Home” and “Burial”, reflecting the two dominant themes of the album, which occasionally touch on a similar darkness. The artwork of a man fishing on the roof of a house cast adrift over a choppy sea, also reflects these themes and was designed by Belfast artist Peter Strain – who has done artwork for fellow Irish acts Villagers (Where have you been all my life?) and Little Green Cars.
The album is due out on 11 November via the bands’ own imprint, Kirkinrola, named after a town-land (an old Irish geographical boundary) near where Mark grew-up in County Antrim. As Ireland’s Hot Press proclaimed; “This guy’s a master songwriter… his muse is an earth-bound one – full of scruffy moments and care-worn emotional truths. His development will be one of the most intriguing story strands of the year.” Indeed, Home Burial’s heartfelt and strikingly accomplished sounds are proof of McCambridge’s exceptional talent at the dawn of a very promising career.