acoustic chamber folk dark folk dream folk duet duo folk review shoegaze

Rapt – Within Thrall Review

The dream bell tolls for dark folk music

It is always a pleasure to shout about homegrown talent and UK based Rapt has been quietly garnering praise for his versatility. His mesh of shoegaze, folk-rock, ambient and experimental electronica can see each release take on vastly different forms.


It’s soft dream folk that Rapt brings to the table with ‘Within Thrall’. It is a collaborative EP with Demi Haynes who doesn’t just provide her vocals but songwriting talents too. The way Haynes and Rapt collide is expertly shown in the dreamy opener ‘Girl in Black’. Everything from the guitar, bass, piano and ambience is softened out to a running trickle of sound. That applies to the vocals too as they create hushed soothing layers of calm even when the lyrics are dark. It’s a beautiful track that paves the way for darker tones on the ethereal ‘Wax & Rosewood’. Here the rubbery twang of the electric guitar paired with the drone-like vocals of Rapt remind me of a dreamier Peter Bjargo. The haze increases as Haynes joins in with a cloud of backing vocals.

‘Torn’ takes nods from early Tunng and Espers with delicate but pacey acoustic guitar leading the way for our vocalists to follow. It’s light and airy instrumentation lets the vocals become the bass melody which is an interesting setup and it works really well. ‘Only Time’ stays in the acoustic folk realm with a track that mimics time standing still in the riff whilst ‘Lighthouse’ leans into the Bjargo feels again with a dark murmuring ambience. I love how the track bleeds out over an extended period of time as its wooden tolling bell approach to the acoustic guitar rings out deeply as the vocals and higher melodies fizzle out.

I really think the pairing of Demi Haynes and Rapt is an undiscovered gem. Their voices and songwriting styles suit each other perfectly and the way Rapt balances the dream world and the darker folk tones is inspired. Interestingly it has also been released on cassette which Id imagine adds a certain haunting quality to the recording too. For anyone looking for a more acoustic and dreamlike Arcana or Unto Ashes – this is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Recommended track: Lighthouse

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Rapt - Within Thrall



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