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Eternal Tapestry
Wild Strawberries Sophie Cooper , February 26th, 2015 13:30

To acclimatise themselves for recording their latest album, Eternal Tapestry decided to treat themselves to a week away in a secluded Oregon cabin under the shadow of Mount Hood near the river Zigzag. There they were inspired to record hours of endless jams from which the tracks that make up this mammoth double album, Wild Strawberries, were chosen. The surrounding countryside gave obvious inspiration for the song titles, which are all named after plants and fruits local to the area.

Eternal Tapestry take a more relaxed approach on Wild Strawberries than on previous albums. Half of the album is made up of tracks that tip over the ten-minute mark, and these are the most successful in sharing the immersive experience no doubt felt by the band during the recording process. Their improvisations are blissed out; relying heavily on repetition of phrases, both played and through use of many echo pedals. Vocals receiving this treatment result in a shoegaze sound, like a softer version of The Telescopes or Spaceman 3. There is the odd occasion when you'd expect the guitar to get a bit heavier, such as at the start of 'Enchanter's Nightshade', however things stay fairly mellow throughout, providing a pleasant but not especially engaging listen.

On tracks such as 'Lace Fern' and 'Pale-Green Sedge', riffs guide you over an imagined landscape and lead off into unpredictable directions. On the standout final track 'White Adder's Tongue', the guitar is quieter, allowing the keyboards to be in charge. Large swells of sustained organ take over, with soft guitar strums accompanying lower down in the recording. This sound morphs into an exploratory rhythm section, which sounds like the band are jamming out a musical error, but in actual fact the music produced here is actually the most interesting on the record. The keyboard loops sound a little amiss to begin with, but then percussion transforms the direction of the previously pedestrian track into a more absorbing experience. After this there are some wild, overblown horn like sounds that are played with huge energy, but then comes the inevitable fade out, inevitable because every track on this album ends this same way. It's a frustrating abrupt end.

Wild Strawberries is an enjoyable record and there are some interesting moments, it's just that the overall sound sort of politely hangs in the background with not much cutting through the haze.