Fern Knight Castings LP/CD

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vhf122_promo.jpg

Fern Knight Castings LP/CD

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Third vhf release of lovely psych/folk with heavy touches by this East coast quartet, featuring their world-beating cover of King Crimson's "Epitaph."

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Third vhf release of lovely psych/folk by this East coast quartet, written, arranged, and performed with the now expected quality and verve. Somewhat less fastidious than 2008's exquisitely arranged Fern Knight cd (vhf110), Castings has a warm, analog feel, with looser and louder performances from the quartet. Led as always by Margaret Ayre's voice, guitar, and cello, the group stretches out on rockier fare like "The Poisoner," growling with fuzz, while leaving plenty of room for softer moments of beautiful clarity. There's "jammy" moments here, but everything is expertly sized and placed, with not a moment wasted on doodles. The centerpiece of the album is the band's treatment of the King Crimson epic "doom" classic "Epitaph." Trading their own cello and violin for the original's signature mellotron, the group channels the vibe of the original while making it their own. Margaret's cool and understated vocal plays it straight in a situation that less assured players and performers would make a bombastic mess of. As on the self-titled CD, Jesse Sparhawk's harp and James Wolf's violin provide the heart of the sound in many spots, a unique strategy that lets the band update the classic genre forms and styles while making them their own. CD is in digipak and has one additional track ("Cave of Swords"). LP was cut by Golden, audiophile press from RTI. Housed in super-heavy Stoughton "tip-on" gatefold.