Reflective neo-classical journal entries.
Gifts from Crows has a great background for their neoclassical debut album. Their musical journey for ‘Holding A Thought Forever’ kicked off when a family heirloom was returned. That heirloom was a 100-year-old piano. Thinking of how it had been passed through a family through generations, the album’s narrative on love, loss and healing was born.
The piano is central to the album but it was almost always backed up with a regal, almost stately orchestration. Strings and wind instruments feature heavily across the album. In many ways, it feels akin to an instrumental Enya album. It is less Celtic perhaps but that wholesome regality is maintained. Richard Laurence, the writer of Gift for Crows, is able to provide some really reflective melodies. Standouts for me were ‘Remembering Who And What We Are’, with its happy skip in its step over subdued strings, and the dramatic ‘No Place In This World’. For that track, it is about the dynamic piano and string arrangement bounding gracefully together like a ballet.
Where the album didn’t quite work for me was where more experimental sounds were used. ‘You Can’t Get There From Here’ adds electric drum and bass pulses to the classical music but it sounds quite muddy and wooden. Thankfully, its the only minor detour from what is an otherwise lush neoclassical collection. Whilst some of the tracks fall into the nice and melodic category, I really enjoyed it when Gift From Crows were more bombastic with their passion. ‘Without Beauty, There Is No Hope’ has some superb string gymnastics and ends in a rumbling piano growl that really makes you feel.
Gift From Crows has made a curious album that I’m not entirely sure I quite connected with. That didn’t stop me from realising its beautiful and romantic quality though. There is a ballroom of broken hearts waiting to sway to it somewhere and its likely inside a stately home. Probably best served with a period drama.
Recommended track: No Place In This World
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